Holiday Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Grow 17% this Year - eMarketer

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Holiday Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Grow 17% this Year

Digital sales will surpass 10% of total retail for the first time

September 27, 2016

Retailers in the US should not only be stocking store shelves and adding employees to their brick-and-mortar locations this holiday season. They also need to make sure their supply and fulfillment centers will be able to keep up with strong online demand in November and December. That’s because US ecommerce sales will jump 17.2% this holiday season, according to eMarketer’s holiday sales preview forecast (eMarketer PRO customers only).

US Retail and Retail Ecommerce* Holiday Season Sales Growth, 2010-2016 (% change)

This holiday season—which eMarketer defines as November and December—total retail sales will increase 3.3% over the same period last year to $884.50 billion. Holiday retail ecommerce sales will jump to $94.71 billion, representing 10.7% of total holiday retail sales—the largest portion ever.

“Amazon continues to be powerful driver of ecommerce,” said eMarketer retail analyst Yory Wurmser. “Last year, it accounted for over a quarter of online holiday sales, according to NetElixir. It should be even higher this year, as Amazon’s revenue growth continues to outpace ecommerce growth as a whole.”

Mobile continues to propel ecommerce growth rates as well. US retail mcommerce sales will increase 43.2% in 2016 to $115.92 billion. That translates to 29.1% of retail ecommerce sales and 2.4% of total retail sales for the year. By 2020, eMarketer expects, retail mcommerce will represent nearly half of all retail ecommerce sales.

US Retail Mcommerce Sales Share, by Device, 2015-2020 (% of total and billions)

The bulk of US retail mcommerce growth is occurring on smartphones. In fact, mcommerce sales on smartphones will exceed those on tablets for the first time in 2016, totaling $67.23 billion for the entire year, or 58.0% of retail mcommerce sales. While retail sales on tablets are still growing, they will represent a shrinking percentage of overall mcommerce sales.

“Bigger screens, better mobile design and simpler payment options have all contributed to this explosion of sales via smartphones,” said Wurmser. “We’re still in the early part of the smartphone commerce revolution, and the development of better app search, payment systems and commerce on new platforms should propel sales strongly in 2017.”

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