How many small online businesses were there in Globally in 2017?

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How many small online businesses were there in Globally in 2017?

Efforts to find industry reports, market outlooks, and press releases that directly determine the worldwide number of small online businesses in 2017 and how they are segmented prove that such information is largely unavailable. However, we found a series of data metrics from multiple credible surveys which allowed us to roughly estimate that there are around 17.54 million to 35.09 million small to medium-sized online businesses worldwide as of 2017. In addition to this, our findings also indicate that the overall market size of online businesses on a global scale amounted to $2.3 trillion by 2017.

US ONLY (2013-2014)

Digital Commerce 360 is a leading provider of news and research about global markets within the digital space. According to an article they published, there were 576,000 online stores in the US alone—back in 2013—that had annual revenues above $1000. They also stated that if we apply the growth rate between 2012-2013 of 13.5 percent, we can estimate that within 2014, this figure rises to 654,033.

US ONLY (2017)

If we are to assume that this growth rate of 13.5 percent remains constant throughout the years that follow, we can estimate that as of 2017, there are 956,285 online stores—with a revenue above $1000—in the US alone. We arrived at this figure by consulting a trusted reverse compound annual growth rate calculator.

GLOBAL (2013-2014)

It was stated in the article by Digital Commerce that there are around 12-24 million online stores worldwide as of 2014. They arrived at this figure by following a four-step process.
The first step involved taking data from a survey which found that 4.7 percent of the top 1 million sites in Alexa were online stores.
The next step involved the consideration of the Pareto Principle, which states that “20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.” Investopedia explains it could also mean that “80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.” By applying the Pareto Principle, Digital Commerce determined we can assume that the 4.7 percent ratio is also applicable to not only the top 1 million, but also the top 10 million. This claim was backed by their findings which indicate that the graphs and charts of the aforementioned survey started exhibiting very little deviation after the top 1 million.

Digital Commerce states that according to another survey, there are between 108 million to 860 million sites worldwide. The lower value represents the number of hosts, while the higher value consists of all sub-domains. For this reason, it was assumed that 108 million was a more accurate figure.
The final step involved taking the 4.7 percent ratio and applying it to both the 108 million and 860 million values. With this, we can estimate that there are between 5 million (108,000,000*.047=5,047,000) to 40 million (860,000,000*.047=40,420,000) online stores in the world. By calculating for the average of both values, we arrive at a total of 22.73 million. [(40,420,000+5,047,000)/2=22,733,500] Digital Commerce states that in consideration of their findings which indicated that 108 million is a more accurate representation of the total number of online sites worldwide, it would be more correct to assume that the actual number is within the low-middle range. This lead to their estimate that there are between 12-24 million online stores in the world.

GLOBAL (2017)

After exhaustive research, we could not find any information that would allow us to estimate the growth rate of the number of online stores worldwide. Due to the scarcity of documented data, we decided that the application of the 13.5 percent growth rate found for US markets would provide us with the most accurate triangulation possible. This allows us to estimate that as of 2017, the number of online stores worldwide grew from a range of 12,000,000-24,000,000 back in 2014 to 17,545,625-35,091,249. I arrived at these figures after consulting the same reverse CAGR calculator used for the US markets.

Findings from Strategy show that as of 2017, over 99 percent of all businesses consist of small to medium-sized enterprises, or companies with less than 250 employees. There are currently no records available within public domains which provide the percentage of only small businesses with less than 100 employees worldwide.


Sources indicate that in 2015, the total market size of all online stores in the world was $1.6 trillion. It was also indicated that the market was exhibiting a year-on-year growth of 20.9 percent. If this remains consistent within the next few years, then we can estimate that by 2017, the market would grow to $2.3 trillion.


After extensive research, we found that all publicly available information about the segmentation of online stores consist of very few reports which also include the largest companies within the market. An example of this is how Shopify states that the global B2C e-commerce market is dwarfed by the B2B e-commerce market by around 234.78 percent as of 2017.

We found a few purchasable reports, such as a 2016-2020 outlook by Technavio, which may provide useful information about how the market is further segmented.


There were approximately 17.54 million to 35.09 million small to medium-sized online businesses worldwide back in 2017. All available data within public domains suggest that the overall market for online businesses grew from $1.6 trillion back in 2015 up to $2.3 trillion in 2017.

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