E‑commerce to Continue Healthy Growth as Consumers Shift Spending to Online

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. retail e‑commerce sales reached $165.4 billion in 2010, for 14.8% growth over 2009.

This represented a strong comeback for online retail after the recession, and healthy growth is predicted to continue throughout 2011.  In fact, eMarketer expects online shopping dollars (excluding travel, digital downloads and event tickets) to exceed $188 billion this year. Double-digit sales growth, however, will taper off through 2015 as e‑commerce continues to mature.

Two major trends that will fuel online buying growth are mobile commerce and daily deal sites like Groupon,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst and author of a forthcoming report on U.S. retail ecommerce. “Both opportunities are expected to have strong sales growth over the next five years.”

As e‑commerce sales rise, so will the number of Americans contributing to that total.  eMarketer estimates 87.5% of U.S. internet users ages 14 and older, or 178.5 million people, will browse or research products online in 2011.  Of that group, 83% will make a purchase online, for a total of 148.1 million online buyers in 2011.  By 2015, 170.3 million people, or 76.3% of the online population, will make a purchase on the web.

Most of the growth in e‑commerce is coming from incumbent online buyers shifting more of their spending from stores to the internet rather than from the spending power of new online buyers,” said Grau.

The online sales forecast is based on an analysis of the latest historical retail e‑commerce estimates from the Department of Commerce, as well as macroeconomic trends and research from firms that track e‑commerce sales.

[Source:  "Healthy Growth for E‑commerce as Retail Continues Shift to Web."  eMarketer/U.S. Department of Commerce.  15 Mar. 2011.  Web.  1 Apr. 2011.]