Growth in North America, robust in recent years, is beginning to slow. By the end of 2019, GDP in the US was expanding at 1.9% year-on-year. By the end of the year, retail sales were growing at a rate of 0.3%. In Canada, the IMF expected the country’s GDP to grow by 1.5% in 2019. The engine of Canada’s growth is Alberta, the home of the country’s oil and gas industry, which is projected to grow by 2.4% in 2020 – faster than the Canadian economy as a whole. By the end of 2019, Mexico officially went into recession. In November, the Mexican government announced a five-year $44.3 billion plan which it hopes will give the economy a boost.
The Local Payment Culture
The most common online payment method in North America is the credit card, with a 59% share of the e-commerce payment market. E-wallets have a 22% market share, bank transfers 8%, cash 5% and various other minor payment methods 6%. However, the popularity of local payment methods is growing. Cap Gemini’s 2019 World Payments Report predicts a 5% growth rate for digital transactions in North America over the next five years.
The E-Commerce Market
The North American e-commerce market is worth just under $912 billion and is growing at a rate of 13% a year. The average North American e-shopper spends around $3,500 a year online and e-commerce sales already account for 14% of all retail sales. Amazon dominates the North American market, with 49.1% of e-commerce sales. The rapid rise of e-commerce has had devastating consequences for the American mall in what commentators have dubbed the ‘retail apocalypse’. According to the New York Times, US retailers shut 5,994 stores in the first half of 2019 alone, more than in the whole of 2018.