Retail media and e-commerce are a growing piece of the global economy, although the categories will grow more incrementally than in previous years now that China’s e-commerce market has matured—and digital advertising growth is dimming amidst the recession. That is, according to WPP’s GroupM’s This Year Next Year 2022 E-Commerce and Retail Media Forecast.

“Obviously as it’s growing bigger, we see the overall growth rate coming down. We do think there is continued opportunity, especially in the U.S. and other markets,” Kate Scott-Dawkins, global director of business intelligence at GroupM, said during a press conference.

A relatively small group of retailers drives the lion’s share of this growth, raking in the associated digital sales revenue—and the associated retail media ad revenue. As the category grows larger,

this coterie will benefit from their stronghold on the market—not unlike how Facebook, Google and Amazon saw their revenues flourish from digital ad investments.

The media investment group expects e-commerce sales to make up a quarter of global retail sales by 2027. They’ll comprise 19% of this year’s global retail sales, according to the research, up from 18% in 2020 and 2021—and leaving room for relatively significant growth in the coming five years.

“It’s certainly taking share out of overall digital ad revenue over the next five years. If that share increased—even one percent each year—you very quickly get to a place where it’s a $200 billion number in 2027,” said Scott-Dawkins.

Just twenty top global e-commerce companies accounted for 67% of 2021 global e-commerce sales. Companies like Alibaba, Amazon and Walmart made the list of 20 juggernauts, which have come a long way since they accounted for just 49% of global e-commerce sales in 2016.

The top-twenty list is “dominated by the players that are pretty much 100% e-commerce or nearly there,” said Scott-Dawkins. Software providers and food delivery apps were not included in the research—nor were Google Shopping, Instagram Shopping or Yahoo Shopping.

And just a few markets represent the bulk of e-commerce sales. In fact, 61% come from only seven markets—the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, the UK, Canada and Australia. The U.S. and China pull in the most money, making up 52% of the estimated $5.4 trillion global e-commerce sales this year.