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Nikolay Tarashchenko eCommerce Statistics

The Ultimate List Of eCommerce Statistics You Need For Your Catalog Strategy

Where is eCommerce headed?

That's something most marketers ask themselves but have difficulty predicting. 

In our experience, when you're not sure about something, it's best to rely on the numbers.

So we've gathered the ultimate list of eCommerce statistics you need for your catalog strategy in 2018. Plus, actionable takeaways to help you better understand online shoppers and what role your catalogs and brochures play in meeting and exceeding expectations.  

#1 Online Spending & Demographics

#2 Industries

#3 Multi- and Omnichannel Marketing

#4 Mobile Spending

#5 Design & Media

#6 Social Media


#1 Online Spending & Demographics

The Global B2C eCommerce turnover was $1.84 trillion last year (eCommerce Foundation)

What this tells us is that it's more important than ever that businesses not just establish an online presence, but start to think long-term.  

That means spending more time retaining customers than solely acquiring them. 

Not that we're saying you shouldn't seek new customers, that would be crazy, of course. But studies show that if a customer buys from you once, they're more likely to do so again. So nurturing relationships with existing customers is a no brainer. 

Action Point

Consider using your catalogs as a lead capture tool as well as a sales tool. By adding forms and pop ups to encourage newsletter sign up like retailer Flying Tiger (bottom right) you can maintain a relationship longer term. Then send them offers or embed links to newer catalogs so repeat shoppers can browse for themselves. 

flying tiger newsletter sign up 

Last year's total eCommerce growth rate was 66.4% (eCommerce Foundation)

What's great about this is that eCommerce is still a growing revenue channel, but on the flip side of that, it also means that competition online is only getting fiercer. To stand out in 2018 you need to give potential customers a unique catalog experience that provides value. Not just in terms of your offerings but the story you're telling to your readers. 

Action Point:  Ask yourself whether your catalogs are:

  • Conveying a clear, easy to understand message 
  • Speaking to the unique value your business provides
  • Targeting a specific market segment or persona
  • Communicating a promise of the benefits you’ll deliver 

67% of Millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store (BigCommerce)

Millennials are overtaking Generation X'ers in terms of purchasing power. As digital natives who grew up with the internet it makes perfect sense for them to prefer to shop online.

Here's the thing, Millennials also prefer to shop directly from images, making online catalogs especially effective.

But you need to sell them on the story, because Millennials think of the products they buy as an extension of their image or identity.

This is why you've probably seen a boost in things like, consumption of organic food, sustainable or ethically made clothes and so on.

Millennials want the world to be better and demand that companies make that possible. 

Action Point

  • What challenge is your product going to solve for Millennials? How will buying or using your product make them feel good about themselves or improve the planet? Are your catalogs and other online communications answering these questions? 
  • Here's some inspiration from Promotional Products Supplier, Xindao. They detailed their environmental policies in their ECO catalog with pretty impressive results.

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  • This kind of specified storytelling, showing your customers how your product makes life more convenient, or is serving a function while helping the world is just as effective in other segments. It just has to be tailored to that audience. 

It’s 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one (Invesp)

Of course every marketer knows the importance of chasing new business and we sort of mentioned this in the first statistic.


Second time customers are 53% more likely to place a third order. By the time a returning customer places their tenth order, they’re 83% more likely to buy again.

Action Point

  • Spend some time creating a customer retention strategy. Use your website, and online catalog to capture newsletter leads and target shoppers who have already purchased from you. Whether it's follow up emails, newsletters that link to your newest catalogs or offerings, it's cheaper in the long run to reel them back in.


Norway has highest average number of online sales made per person, followed by the UK (NASDAQ)

While China has the largest eCommerce market turnover at about $681 billion, the European market is overall more developed and in Europe the Norwegians buy the most online.

Plus, there's a lot to be said for the European market in 2018.

The economy is robust, Europeans have the highest regional eCommerce GDP at almost 5%.

Given that the most popular eCommerce payment method globally is bank cards, the European market is also ideal. Most European countries are almost entirely cashless now and moreover they're comfortable with the online buying process, having done it for longer than developing markets. 


61% of global consumers believe that online shopping saves money (eCommerce Foundation)

This statistic is a bit of a mixed bag.

On the surface, this is, of course great, you want people to seek you out online and you want people to browse your catalogs knowing that they're getting a good deal. 

But it's not as simple as all that. 

Firstly, the rise of price comparison websites (which are great for the customer) has in many industries driven down prices and made competition unsustainably fierce. 

The second is that online shopping behavior has changed and online shoppers are overall more savvy.

According to Google researchconsumers will on average look at 11 online touch points when considering a given purchase.

This means that they're not only looking at a number of different suppliers for various products, but also looking at different channels to research a company that they're considering buying from. 

Action Points

  • Make sure your online shopping catalogs reflect your brand with a consistent look, tone and feel. This is a major trust builder.  An example of a brand that does this really well is Kvik Kitchen. While there are tiny differences, every single online touch point (catalog, website, social media communities seen below) looks like it's part of one universe.


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  • Don't underestimate the value of good service. While price points are always important, they're not everything. In fact 73% of customers say they love a brand for their friendly employees or customer service representatives. So if you pride yourself in good service, make it known in your catalog, make hotlines visible, or pop ups scheduling  personal consultations (provided that's relevant for your business, of course).   


#2 eCommerce Statistics By Industry

45% of shoppers bought clothes, shoes or accessories from webstores (BigCommerce)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in the last year 60% of shoppers bought clothing, shoes and accessories from large online retailers (think ASOS or Zalando).

54% of shoppers bought at online marketplaces (like eBay, Etsy or Facebook Marketplace)

But 45% bought from category specific and individual webshops.

What's surprising about this is the large percentage of people who are buying from "independent" webshops because it indicates that even though larger retailers have a bigger market share and often times, more competitive pricing, smaller to medium sized businesses are still attracting a sizable amount of shoppers. 


41% of online shoppers bought computers or electronics from larger online retail stores (BigCommerce)

Surprisingly, 43% of online shoppers have purchased computers or electronics from marketplaces. More than the larger online retailers (think, ComputerWorld or the US equivalent, Best Buy) though the rate of shoppers who bought there was still high at 41%. 

Interestingly, 29% of shoppers said they'd bought electronics from category-specific online stores. So, stores that exclusively sell a certain device, or a specific brand and 17% of shoppers bought electronics independent webshops.


The split between retailers in the beauty industry is very close (BigCommerce)

It seems online shoppers had no particular preference where buying beauty products was concerned.

34% bought beauty items at online marketplaces, 31% at large online retailers, 29% at independent webshops and 25% at category-specific online stores.




Just 52% of online stores have omni-channel capabilities (Google)

Many of you will have heard of multi-channel marketing and omni-channel isn't so different, just a level up. 

Omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience across devices but usually requires having a physical store as well. 

That means the brand's voice and look has to be injected into every communication, consistently, regardless of the channel, so potential buyers don’t get confused.

Action Points

  • Consider your eCommerce catalogs not as a separate sales channel, but as an extension of your webshop. It should look and feel the same, so when your customer moves between touch points (be it your newsletter, your site, your catalog, your Facebook page) it feels like the same universe. Tell the same story, use the same language, does it reflect the physical store in atmosphere?  
  • Make sure your marketing channels look good on any device. At iPaper we automatically make all your catalogs responsive across devices but even so it's worth investigating your other channels to make sure it all adds up.


#4 ECOMMERCE STATISTICS ON mobile spending 

Global mobile commerce revenue is projected to reach $669 billion dollars this year (Statista)

We already mentioned the importance of being responsive across devices when we went over omni-channel marketing.

But given that mobile commerce revenue is expected to reach $669 billion dollars, we're looking at yet another argument for creating seamless mobile shopping experiences. 

And actually, shoppers who have a negative experience on a mobile site are 62% less likely to purchase from that company in the future. 

Action Point

  • Smartphones have reduced the time from idea/desire to purchase, and as many as 88% of people agree that having a smartphone has made them more spontaneous with shopping. So the easier you make it to buy your product directly from your online catalog, even in mobile, the more likely you are to sell. 


52% of smartphone owners use online banking, indicating future growth in mobile shopping (DUE)

Smartphones are making it easier and easier to shop online. Some major brands like Amazon or ASOS have designed their own shopping apps, but the vast majority are still dependent on mobile websites. 

The bad news is that many mobile websites still look a little clunky, but online catalogs are not only shoppable but responsive across devices. 

Meaning readers can easily move through product offers and buy with a click in a mobile or tablet friendly shopping environment.   




For 93% of shoppers, visuals are the key deciding factor (Justuno)

The old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but here are some facts and figures. 

We process images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of the information that's sent to our brain is visual.

That's why videos, animations, bright colors and images are so effective in marketing. 

Action Point

  • When creating your product catalog, from images, icons, or other visual elements, consider showcasing them in the most appealing way. That means, either you just keep it simple and only show your product against a colorful background or you place it in a beautiful but natural setting, so that the reader can see for themselves where and how the product might work in their home. Here's an example from Sebra Interiors, notice how the chic interior furniture and toys are arranged as if a child has already played with it? This helps the shopper visualize the products in their home. The catalog even includes DIY projects with fun things the reader can do with their kids keeping them engaged for longer.  


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73% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product or service if they've watched a video explaining it (Animoto)

We've already been over how effective visuals are, how the way products are presented can be a key factor in the buyer's decision to purchase. 

What makes video especially powerful is that the buyer can see how things work without having to visualize it. 

Whether it's how to unfold a sleeper sofa, or how to use wireless headphones, product videos make it much easier for your customers to understand how the product works and how it benefits them. 

Action Point

  • Some catalog makers, like iPaper, make it possible to include videos in your product catalogs and brochures. Utilize it! Make it easier for the buyer to grasp the value and benefit of certain products or use video as an opportunity to explain how more complicated products or services work. 


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63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant (Evergage)

What this means is that while a webshop is obviously a key factor for any eCommerce retailer, customers want more than that when they interact with a brand. 

Think about it this way. 

When you go into a brick and mortar store, it's a tactile experience. You can see the products, feel them, touch them. You're influenced by the general mood and style of the shop's design and by the positive or (one hopes) helpful attitude of the shop's assistants. 

When you shop online you don't get quite the same breadth of information, so you place importance on other things.

Style and visuals remain super important, but without physically assessing or holding what you're going to buy in your hands, you need more information. You're likelier to have more questions.

Whether that information comes in catalog form, or whether it comes in blog form, in a newsletter or a How To video, it doesn't matter.

As long as you are providing the customer with information they need to make a decision and answering whatever question they might be asking themselves, you're creating meaningful content.



42% of online shoppers find recommendations from friends and family influential (BigCommerce)

Online shopping has made it really easy for customers to get second opinions before making purchases. 

All they have to do is share a link or screenshot of a particular catalog page then message or mail it to their friends or family.

According to BigCommerce, if those friends and family recommend one product over the other, shoppers are more likely to chose the recommended one, regardless of price and quality.

Action Point

  • iPaper makes sharing catalogs incredibly easy for you and for your readers, but go beyond that. Make your catalogs available and shareable everywhere. Your site, your social media pages, tweet it, and promote its shareability


74% shoppers are unlikely to share a newly bought product on social networks (VWO)

Here's the thing, this looks bad.

A lot of companies have encouraged customers to share their purchases to their social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, etc) with hashtags.

So, you may have read that statistic and thought, why am I even bothering?

But just because customers are unlikely to share their buy on social media, people are still most influenced by recommendations from friends and family.

Meaning, even if only 26% of shoppers are likely to post about the purchased product, it will still lead to free exposure for you over time.  

Action Point

  • It doesn't cost you much in terms of effort to just ask your customers to share their buy on social media, because some will and then you can include them in your catalog as social proof. Check out this example by XD Design. 


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70% of shoppers say Instagram influences their decisions to buy (Retail Dive)

Of course, seeing that our friends and family have bought something and are happy about it is a major influence on the likelihood of purchase.

However, shoppers aren't only influenced by friends on Instagram, but also by businesses who use Instagram to advertise their products via Instagram ads, Instagram stories, and posts to their business pages, and so on.  

Here's how ceramics brand Brost Copenhagen used a promoted Instagram Story to share their newest product catalog and make it look amazing.


Action Point
  • Have you considered using your catalogs as a part of your social media ad campaigns? Not only because it's a great piece of content, but because shoppable content makes it easy for consumers to buy within an inspirational environment. 


# conclusion 

Developing an efficient strategy for your e-commerce catalog isn't easy. 

But making sure you stay on top of trends and get relevant information helps.

And for that reason I hope these eCommerce statistics gave you some solid insight into what's happening in eCommerce and how consumer habits are changing, so you can make the best catalog marketing strategy possible. 

If I've missed any crucial trends or if you've come across any interesting statistics you'd like to share, please comment or email me and I'll update accordingly.

Thanks for reading this far! 

And if you're interested in learning more, I recommend checking out our blog on making your retail catalogs relevant to your digital marketing in 2018 and our in-depth interview with online catalog designer, Agnes Heinrich's on what sells in digital spaces

 For more information on how to increase sales through online catalogs, develop an inspiring shopping experience and harness your user data, click below to read our downloadable eBook.

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About the author

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna is a storytelling wizard with over ten years experience working as a journalist and copywriter. Wielding magic with her words, her goal is to educate and delight you with fresh blogs and sage wisdom.

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