10 Best Countries for Opening an E-Commerce Business

The global e-Commerce market is experiencing rapid growth as global sales are expected to hit $4.891 trillion, marking a 14.3% increase in the previous year.

Many countries have been significantly contributing towards this market growth. 

The e-Commerce explosion is largely attributed to the rising use of mobile devices worldwide.

Without the use of mobile applications, consumers and businesses would not be able to buy and sell over the internet so easily.

Now is the best time ever to take your e-Commerce business to the next level as you can now benefit from more advanced technology, streamlined cross-border shipping, and logistics.

A study conducted by eMarketer has estimated that the Asia-Pacific religion will produce over $4 trillion in e-commerce sales by 2024, which will make up nearly 65.9% of the global market e-Commerce sales.

1. China

China is currently the world’s largest e-commerce market, contributing to nearly 52.1% of all e-commerce sales worldwide.

China has the biggest portion of global e-Commerce size and sales, but it also has quite a dominant leader as the largest e-commerce market in the world, outranking e-Commerce transactions in the United States, Germany, France, Japan the United Kingdom combined. 

One of the main reasons why the e-Commerce market is thriving in China is due to the country’s leading manufacturing industry, logistic infrastructure, and government support.

Internet usage has also dramatically increased amongst the Chinese population as the country currently has more than 800 million users.

Moreover, these 800 million internet users prefer online shopping as more than 70% of China’s internet users had made an online purchase in 2018.

China is also home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has developed efficient systems and networks to process online orders and delivery.

Alibaba has a huge network of delivery which allows the company to process up to 30 million items each day.

2. Japan

Japan is one of the largest and fast-growing e-Commerce markets globally, contributing to the global growth rate of the e-Commerce market by 29%.

The Japanese e-commerce market generated total revenue of US$114 billion in 2020, putting the country right behind the United States. 

The e-Commerce market in Japan has been traditionally dominated by business-to-business transactions.

However, there has been increasing growth in online sales of physical goods within the business to the consumer market.

The consumer-to-consumer market is also expected to grow as demand for digitally distributed services such as travel tickets continuously increases.

JP Morgan has also estimated that e-Commerce sales in Japan will continue to expand at an annual growth rate of 6.2%, and the total market revenue is expected to reach $143.297 billion by 2025.

Japan has constantly been ranked as one of the top 5 largest e-commerce markets in the world due to its rapidly growing developed economy, urbanized population, and high internet penetration rate, which applies to both the younger and older population.

Japan’s top three e-Commerce platforms include Rakuten, Yahoo! and Amazon

3. Singapore

Singapore has a high tax rate and a requirement for a resident director for a company that can serve as a disincentive to start an e-Commerce business.

However, many other aspects make Singapore a rapidly growing financial hub in South East Asia where the e-Commerce gross merchandise value is expected to double to US$ 254 billion, according to the Sync Southeast Asia Report

There are many opportunities to gain investment from venture capitals in Singapore which incentivize setting up an e-commerce business in the country and has contributed to the boost in the e-Commerce market value.

Another way business owners are benefiting is through the exemptions that may apply to their company depending on its size and revenue, which can lower the corporate tax rate down to 0%.

4. South Korea

South Korea is among the largest e-commerce markets in the world, powered by a population with a 92% internet usage rate.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, GlobalData’s E-Commerce Analytics reported that over lockdown, the number of e-commerce transactions increased by 22.2% in 2020 and are expected to grow in the following year by 25.4% in 2021.

The largest e-Commerce market segments are fashion, sporting goods, toys, cosmetics, and DIY products.

South Korea is also considered one of the top 10 business-friendly and technologically advanced economics globally, which makes starting an e-commerce business in the country an extremely easy and profitable business venture.

5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a thriving online market where the market volume for an e-Commerce business is expected to stand at approximately US 11 million by 2025.

You can benefit from many opportunities by opening an e-Commerce business in Hong Kong as you also have access to Mainland China.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading digital cities makes it a great place for e-Commerce as the population is heavily dependant on technology and online shopping. 

The country also offers a favorable tax system to relieve a huge financial burden in terms of taxes as Hong Kong is a highly popular low-tax jurisdiction

Moreover, the country also has a strong logistic infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for online transactions.

This includes highly developed transportation systems, supply chains, and warehousing, ensuring secure storage and easy order shipments.

Lastly, Hong Kong has an extremely easy company incorporation process which is a huge convenience compared to other jurisdictions.

All you need to do is upload the correct documents and fill in the necessary information on the online application to start your e-commerce business.

6. United States

The United States has been a strong contender in the leading countries for e-Commerce and currently stands as the second largest e-commerce market in the world powered by online giants like Amazon and eBay.

As the most developed market for online shopping, engaging in online commercial transactions to purchase goods and services is a norm for American consumers. 

The US is known for its business-friendly environment due to lower-income and corporate taxes, which act as a huge financial incentive for those looking to start an eCommerce business.

Saving up on taxes allows e-Commerce business owners a bigger budget to invest in new software programs and website development to take their online business to the next level.

Some of the leading American e-Commerce platforms by monthly traffic include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, Home Depot, Target, Lowe’s, and Best Buy.

7. Canada

Canada is considered a great place to start an online business as it offers an efficient tax structure, making it easier for businesses to become more profitable.

Due to Canada’s increasingly digital population, the country has become a profitable market for those looking to set up an e-Commerce business.

In 2021, there were approximately more than 27 million eCommerce users in Canada, making up almost 72.5% of the Canadian population.

This percentage is expected to grow to 77.6% in 2025. 

These figures highlight the number of profitable opportunities there are within the Canadian e-Commerce market, which is currently dominated by electronic and media products.

The biggest e-Commerce platforms in Canada include Amazon CA, Walmart Ca, and Costco CA, which generate a combined revenue of US$ 1.6 billion and control 40% of the online market.

8. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is considered one of the top three e-commerce markets globally.

Its annual sales reach $99 billion, which is nearly 14.5% of the total e-Commerce global retail sales.

Popular e-Commerce businesses include Argos and Amazon UK, where the leading product categories range from travel, fashion, sporting goods, and household items.

Moreover, the company incorporation process is also extremely affordable, easy, and convenient compared to other countries.

Incorporating an e-commerce business is particularly suitable for non-residents who do not carry out their business activities in the UK as they benefit from the favorable tax system. 

Regardless of the size of your e-Commerce business, the UK is still an attractive option.

There are multiple e-Commerce platforms where small e-Commerce businesses have become extremely popular.

These include Amazon Marketplace, Depop, eBay, and Not On The High Street.

9. Switzerland

The UNCTAD’s Business to Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index 2020 has reported that Switzerland has replaced the Netherlands and has secured the highest place amongst 152 countries in their readiness to engage in online commerce.

This is attributable to 97% of the Swiss population using the internet in 2019, making Switzerland the only non-European economy amongst the countries with the highest internet usage. 

The E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2020 further highlights that the country is experiencing a strong internet shopping trend as nearly 10 billion Swiss francs were spent online in 2019.

The study anticipates further growth in the years to come.

As the 21st largest e-Commerce market by size and a country quite well-known for its high internet penetration, the revenue generated from the e-commerce market is projected to reach nearly USS 11.6 million in 2021 and is experiencing an annual growth rate of 6.85%.

10. Germany

Germany is another top contender within the e-Commerce market, especially within Europe.

The country offers competitive shipping options that contribute towards business growth and development.

Annual online sales in Germany are estimated at $73 billion, making up 8.4% of the global e-commerce retail sales.

The country is also experiencing a 5.4% growth rate which is skyrocketing its projected revenue.

The leading products within the German e-Commerce market include fashion, electronics, and media.

Final Words

The global e-Commerce market is a testament to the increase in business innovation, technological advancement, and increased dependence on technology to carry on our day-to-day activities.

This provides a major opportunity for those looking to start an online business as the potential for profit and growth is huge.

Vivian Au photo
Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

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