An Overview of the North America eCommerce Opportunity

Insights into the growth of the North America eCommerce market with payment methods, online shopper profiles, digital advertising, logistics and economy all profiled



North America is home to just over 357 million people with a total GDP of 19.6 trillion USD. GDP per capita is currently 57,234 USD and expected to reach 65,254 USD by 2021. Bermuda, Canada and the United States make up North America, with the United States and Canada representing the biggest eCommerce opportunities.

Digital User Insights

There are currently 223 million people shopping online in North America, with 30 million new users expected to shop online by 2021. There will be a total of 254 million eCommerce users by 2021, this will represent 85% of the total population.

North America - Number of eCommerce Users

Additionally, online shoppers are expected to spend more over time. The average user currently spends 1,680 USD online, which will grow to 2,025 USD by 2021.

North America - Average revenue per user

Product Categories

Total ecommerce revenue across all product categories is 374 billion USD, expected to reach 513 billion USD by 2021. Electronics & Media is currently the leading product category accounting for 102 billion USD market share. Toys, Hobby & DIY is the second leading product category accounting for 80 billion USD. Fashion is the third leading product category accounting for 76 billion USD

By 2021, Electronics & Media will continue to lead the charge, valued at 137 billion USD. Toys, Hobby & DIY will remain in second place reaching 111 billion USD. Fashion will take third place accounting for 106 billion USD.

North America - Total eCommerce revenue broken into product categories


The World Bank rates North American logistics highly, with the region scoring 3.96 in the 2016 LPI index. This makes it the overall leading region for logistics and delivery. Individually both the U.S and Canada score quite high on the LPI ranking for individual countries.

Preferred Online Payments

74% of online shoppers selected credit card among their preferred online payment options. 38% of shoppers said they used a digital payments system such as PayPal or Alipay. Gift Cards, Debit Cards and Direct Debits were all popular alternative methods of online payment.

North America - Preferred Online Payment Methods


Both the United States and Canada rely on cross border trade within North America, outside of the region, both rely heavily on imports. Particularly note-worthy import partnerships for both countries include China, Germany, Japan and Mexico.

Internet and Device Usage

Internet penetration in North America is currently at 83%, and should reach 86% by 2021. Smartphone penetration is 68% and is projected to grow to 78% by 2021.  

84% of online shoppers in North America shop online via desktop, which is slightly above the global average. 27% of online shoppers use mobile and 28% used a tablet. Mobile is considerably lower than the global average.

North America - Device Usage

Digital Marketing

Digital advertising in North America has grown steeply in recent years to reach 94 billion USD. This is expected to reach 121 billion USD by 2021. Social media advertising accounts for 18 billion USD of the current spend, with search advertising leading the market spend at 34 billion USD. Search advertising is expected to reach 44 billion USD by 2021.

North America - Digital advertising spend

Social Media

70% of North Americans currently use Social Media, this will grow to 71% by 2021. Popular networks across the region include Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

North America - Social Network Penetration

To find out more about North America eCommerce, check out our market insights into the United States and Canada.

For more market insights, check out the eShopWorld series of blogs covering a range of emerging eCommerce markets. 

*Insights derived from eShopWorld data, Statista, WorldBank, OECD and other industry sources.