Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


After experiencing unprecedented growth during the pandemic, the e-commerce landscape is undergoing significant change, according to a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, "Winning Formulas for E-Commerce Growth".  The study examines the trends that have shaped the online retail sector from the beginning of the pandemic to the present day.

Despite a notable slowdown in online sales growth for many retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in 2022, the study predicts that e-commerce will account for a remarkable 41% of global retail sales by 2027. This represents a significant increase from its share of just 18% in 2017.


The study, based on a global survey conducted in the second quarter of 2023, involved 410 retail and 415 CPG companies worldwide, with revenues ranging from $50 million to more than $10 billion.

"As e-commerce gradually returns to its pre-covid trajectory, the landscape has undergone a remarkable and lasting transformation," said Martin Barthel, a BCG partner and managing director and co-author of the study. "The rivalry between new entrants and established incumbents has intensified, driven by the buying patterns of baby boomers and Gen-Xers, who collectively exert significant influence over today's e-commerce sales."


Key findings:


·        E-commerce sales growth: The study shows that e-commerce sales will grow by 3% in Europe and 7% in both the US and Asia by 2022.


·        Global growth projections: Global e-commerce growth is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% through 2027 - more than double the more modest 4% CAGR forecast for bricks-and-mortar retail.


·        E-commerce winners and laggards: The survey focused on six different e-commerce criteria to assess the maturity of each participating organisation. Winners, which include 27% of retailers and 20% of CPG companies, reported post-covidien growth of more than 30% per year and are confident they can maintain or exceed this growth through 2027. Laggards, representing 21% of retailers and 25% of CPG companies, reported post-pandemic growth of 10% or less per year and lack confidence in their future e-commerce growth.


"In both retail and CPG, the divide between e-commerce leaders and laggards is unmistakable, but it remains a gap that can be bridged," said Robert Derow, BCG's North America digital growth leader and co-author of the report. "In fact, many markets and categories are still years away from full e-commerce maturity, with tailwinds strong enough to justify investing more capital and resources in winning capabilities and organisations."


To explore the full findings and recommendations, download the publication here.