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eMarketer forecasts that after two years of subpar growth, 2010 US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb to more than $152 billion, up 12.7% year over year. This follows the US Census Bureau’s release showing online sales in Q4 2009 grew by 14.6% over a year earlier—the biggest gain in eight quarters.
“In 2011, growth will go on at the same pace, as the economy continues to recover and consumers loosen their purse strings,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “US Retail E-Commerce Forecast: Room to Grow.”
“But by 2012, e-commerce will resume its pre-recessionary downward growth path because of the inevitable maturation of the online sales channel,” he said. “Still, there is plenty of energy driving e-commerce.”
This year, 162 million people in the US will research products online. Much of this research will lead to in-store purchases. Over 82% of online researchers, or 133 million people, will be online buyers. The percent of online buyers will rise as young Internet users, predisposed to e-commerce, replace older users.
Online travel sales are also set to rise. Sales will total $92.5 billion in 2010, a 4.6% annual increase and a positive development after sales plummeted by 6.7% in 2009. Together, online retail and online travel will equal $244.6 billion in 2010 and grow at a 9% compound annual rate from 2009 to 2014.
Still, the Internet’s main contribution to retailing is as a research tool.
“The Internet’s 7.7% share of total retail sales pales in comparison to its influence on store sales,” said Mr. Grau. “During the recession, online consumers honed their Web research skills, searching for coupons, comparing prices and finding just the right product to fill a particular need. It appears these lessons are staying with them even as their personal finances begin to improve.”
Check out today’s other article, “Mobile Users Eager for Travel.”
The full report, “US Retail E-Commerce Forecast: Room to Grow,” also answers these key questions:
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