US eCommerce Market

Part
01
of one
Part
01

US eCommerce Market

Key Takeaways

  • There were about 1.3 million ecommerce businesses in the United States in 2020.
  • The number of Shopify sellers in the US as of 2020 was 874,500.
  • About 566,550 ecommerce businesses in the US have revenue of less than $1 million annually.

Overview

The number of ecommerce businesses and Shopify sellers in the United States has been growing since 2015. In addition, the number of US Shopify sellers in the next 10 years is expected to grow from 909,048 to 2,308,422. More than 140,000 small and medium businesses made over $100,000 in 2017.

Number of eCommerce Businesses in the US

  • As of June 2014, there were approximately 110,000 ecommerce websites that brought in revenue of meaningful scale. The number includes marketplaces, companies that sell virtual goods, travel sites, hosted software providers, and mobile apps with a commerce feature.
  • According to a retail analyst from Forrest Research, there were over 800,000 online stores in 2015.
  • Over 300,000 small and medium businesses started selling on Amazon in 2017.
  • In 2020, there were approximately 1.3 million ecommerce sites in the United States. The number of ecommerce sites excluding marketplace resellers was 300,000.
  • According to PipeCandy’s 2021 data, there are approximately 1.82 million ecommerce companies in North America (United States and Canada). Out of the 1.82 million, 722,000 sell physical goods while the rest sell digital goods and services.

Number of Shopify Sellers in the US

Research Strategy

After an extensive search, we found limited information on the number of ecommerce sites in the US from 2010-2021. We looked at sites, such as the US Census Bureau and Harvard business review, however, these sites focused on ecommerce sales. We then attempted to look at the percentage of e-commerce businesses in the US for triangulation since we had data showing the total number of business in the US but to no avail. We looked at sites, such as Value Line and Businesswire, however, the sites focused on ecommerce revenue. We further attempted to look at data aggregators and analytics websites such Alexa but they only provided the top sites without listing them under different categories. In addition, we attempted to broaden the scope of our search and look at North America (US and Canada), however, we only found once source from that provided relevant information for 2021. Therefore, we concluded that the information is not publicly available.

Additionally, we did not find information on the number of Shopify sellers in the US from 2010 to 2014. We first searched through the company website for annual and quarterly reports. However, Shopify only provided reports from 2015 to 2020. We then attempted to look at media and industry sites, such as eMarketer, Forbes, and PR Newswire but found no relevant information. We also looked at sources dating back from 2010 up to 2015, but did not find the requested data. In addition, we attempted to search for 2021 data, but did not find any. The quarterly reports provided by the website did not have the needed information. For these, reasons, we opted to provide data from 2015 to 2020 since it was the only available data from Shopify. It is noteworthy that we triangulated the data since the reports only provided the global number of merchants and the percentage of merchants located in key regions. Therefore, to determine the number of sellers in the US, we multiplied the percentage of merchants in the US with the global number of merchants. The calculations are shown below.

Number of Shopify sellers = Percentage of Merchants in the US x Total Number of Merchants

Number of Shopify sellers in 2015 = 58.1/100*243,468 = 141,455
Number of Shopify sellers in 2016 = 58/100*377,500 = 218,850
Number of Shopify sellers in 2017 = 56/100*609,000 = 341,040
Number of Shopify sellers in 2018 = 55/100*820,000 = 451,000
Number of Shopify sellers in 2019 = 52/100*1,069,000 = 555,880
Number of Shopify sellers in 2020 = 50/100*1,749,000 = 874,500

Number of Shopify Sellers in US (2021-2030)

Additional Findings

Research Strategy

We attempted to find the number of Shopify sellers in the US from today until 2030 using estimates provided by industry experts. We looked at sites, such as Shopify, Business Insider, and Yahoo! Finance. However, we only found one expert who predicted Shopify’s merchant base in 2030; however, there were no clarifications whether the numbers he gave were for the US merchant base. For these reasons, we conducted linear regression on Microsoft Excel using the historical data for US that we had to project the number of US Shopify merchants from 2021 to 2030.
It is noteworthy that we did not find any projections for the number of ecommerce businesses in 2030. We looked at sites such as Wall Street Journal, CBRE, Globe Newswire but these sites focused on sales projections and market share for the top major companies in the United States. A possible reason why the information is unavailable is that limited studies have been conducted about the number of ecommerce businesses in the US. We attempted triangulation, however, we did not find sufficient historical data.

Number of Small Businesses that Use Bookkeepers or Accountants

  • According to Clutch, 62% of small businesses (19,034,000) in the United States use in-house accountants.
  • In 72% of small businesses, one person handles both human resources and accounting responsibilities. However, this is common in businesses that have less than 10 employees.
  • The study shows that 49% of small businesses that have had the same management for five years or more use accountants. On the other hand, 73% of small businesses that have had the same management for less than a year have accountants.
  • Approximately 47% of small businesses in the United States are likely to use accounting software, such as QuickBooks. Sage Cloud Businesses Accounting is also used by 16% of small businesses as they expand.
  • Nearly one-quarter of small businesses that practice in-house accounting say the biggest benefit is knowledge of business practices (21%), following by flexibility when staffing (21%), meeting company-specific needs (21%), easier communication (20%), and the ability to directly supervise the accounting team (17%)."
  • About 86% of small and medium businesses consider accountants trusted advisors.
  • According to a study by OnPay, only 30% of small businesses in the US were comfortable working with accountants.

Research Strategy

After an extensive search, we did not find information on the number of ecommerce businesses in the US that use bookkeepers or accountants. We looked through sites, such as Clutch, PR Newswire, and OnPay. However, these sources provided information on small business without any specific focus on ecommerce. We then attempted to use the ratios for small businesses to triangulate the figures for ecommerce businesses, however, we did not find any sufficient data, such as the market share of small versus large businesses in the US ecommerce space that would help determine the number of ecommerce businesses in the US that use accountants. In addition, we looked through ecommece accounting sites, such as CCBill and Kruze Consulting, however, they only provided insights on the importance of having an ecommerce accountant. Therefore, we concluded that the information is not publicly available. For these reasons, we used general numbers for US small businesses.
To determine the number of small businesses that use accountants, we multiplied the percentage of small businesses that use accountants by the total number of small businesses in the US (30.7 million).

Number of eCommerce Businesses by Revenue

Additional Findings (2013 data)

Research Strategy

For this research, we leveraged the most reputable sources in the public domain to find data that gave a detailed breakdown of the number of ecommerce businesses by revenue. We attempted to look at ecommerce reports from sites such as the US Census Bureau and Small Business Administration but they only provided ecommerce retails sales as a percentage of total sales. We then looked at business and industry sites, such as ReferralCandy, Retail Dive, and Forbes. It is noteworthy that we found relevant data from ReferralCandy and Forbes but they were published in 2013, hence, outdated. Further research revealed current data from PipeCandy. However, the data only outlined ecommerce businesses earning less than $1 million annually and those earning more than that. Throughout our research, we did not find information that broke down revenue data for businesses that generated less or more than $50,000 or $100,000. For these reasons, we concluded that the information is not publicly available.
Sources
Sources