In 2009, e-commerce non-travel spending essentially remained flat at $129.8 billion according to comScore.  The research shop indicates that 2010 should be a better year for e-retailers. This sentiment is echoed by Forrester Research which put forth its own numbers in a recent release. Forrester pinpoints 2009 e-commerce spending at $155.2 billion and predicts steady growth of 7% annually through 2012. At that point, Forrester analysts see growth increasing by 8% between 2013 and 2014, at which point  online retail sales will ring up at over $249 billion.

Based on numbers provided in their press release, Forrester analysts are expecting e-commerce sales to increase as a percent of total retail sales.  In 2009, e-commerce comprised 6% of retail activity. By 2014, they expect this number to reach 8%.  These figures all assume a steady growth rate in retail sales and this kind of assumption  might be risky considering the continued levels of high unemployment across the U.S.

However, Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru is looking for retail growth to come from the e-commerce sector, especially as consumers begin to explore the wonders of mobile online shopping.  Analysts also point to the high customer satisfaction rate (82%) with Web shopping channels when compared to rates for purchases researched online and then purchased in a store (61%). In addition, consumers are expected to continue buying products that have a well-established e-commerce presence and currently represent about 44% of total online sales – computer equipment, apparel, and consumer electronics.

While one can debate the specific numbers when it comes to measuring and projecting e-commerce volumes  4 years from now, the trend is clear. Retailers must establish an e-commerce presence and use online marketing strategies to ensure future growth.
[Sources: The 2009 U.S. Digital Year in Review. comScore. February 2010. Web. 9 March 2010; Forrester Forecast: Double-Digit Growth For Online Retail In The US And Western Europe. Forrester.com. 8 March 2010. Web]