Goldman Sachs: m-commerce sales forecast to hit $626 billion by 2018

Goldman Sachs online retailing

By 2018, m-commerce sales will almost equal total global e-commerce sales generated in 2013. According to new forecasts by Goldman Sachs, global mobile commerce sales will reach $626 billion by 2018, which is just shy of equaling total global e-commerce sales for 2013 of $638 billion.

Goldman Sachs released an updated forecast on March 5, 2014, estimating that global m-commerce sales reached $133 billion in 2013, and that this number will reach $626 billion in 2018. In the US, m-commerce will more than triple by 2018, representing $131 billion, or 32% of American e-commerce sales. Therefore, US m-commerce sales alone in 2018 will be equal to 2013 global m-commerce sales, and all of this growth will be  driven by tablets.

The report also forecast global e-commerce growth to accelerate through 2014. Global e-commerce growth slowed in 2013 to 17.1% yoy, down from 18.8% in 2012, but is expected to increase to 17.9% in 2014 , driven by North America (2% increase on average), China (14%) and Western Europe (10%). In the US, growth is expected to accelerate to 16.1%, up from 15.9% in 2013 to $241 billion, which is ahead of forecasts made by Euromonitor, Forrester and eMarketer.

Amazon and eBay will be the two e-retailers who will benefit the most from opportunities in e-commerce. The report points out that Amazon has the ecosystem, infrastructure and technology to keep growing, while eBay has the benefits of category share and its ability to enable commerce for small merchants. Mobile will also drive this growth, as more than half of Amazon’s consumers shopped via a mobile device in Q4 2013, while PayPal saw 115% growth in total payment volume on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. 

Growth in developing markets will also largely benefit Amazon and eBay through their strong positions in these regions. In 2013, eBay predicted that 25% of its users and 12% of its revenue will come from BRIC and other emerging markets by 2015, with particular focus in Russia, where GMV was $400 million in 2012 and users grew 75% yoy.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs predicts a shift away from multi-brand e-commerce sites to brand led curated marketplaces like Zulily, Asos, Yoox and VIPshops as well as Etsy, Zalando and OneKingsLane. Sites like these enable shoppers to discover small vendors, and drive regular engagement and improved purchase frequency. “Well-curated, entertainment like experiences that leverage mobile are serving as a further catalyst for
e-commerce as retailers seek to differentiate themselves from Amazon and eBay,” reads the report.

Traditional retail brands that will benefit from e-commerce growth and omni-channel retail include Carter’s, Nordstrom, PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren and Urban Outfitters. Vulnerable retailers include Bed Bath & Beyond, Genesco and Kohl’s.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational investment banking firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients.