There are some tasty tidbits of research recently released from eMarketer and Forrester Research that track the growth and importance of ecommerce as both a shopping and research medium for consumers. eMarketer forecasts that in 2010, US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb to more than $152 billion, which is 12.7% higher than 2009.
They also estimate that 162 million people in the US will research products online this year. Of that, over 82% will makes purchases. As big as this number is, the internet still functions mainly as a research tool, capturing only 7.7% of total retail sales. The percent of online buyers will rise as younger aged Internet users, predisposed to e-commerce, replace older users.
The biggest opportunity for retailers is to provide a seamless experience between the web and the store. According to Forrester Research, much of the overall retail sector’s growth in both the US and the EU over the next five years will come from the Internet. “To maximize that growth, eBusiness professionals will have to help enable a multichannel strategy that responds to consumers’ increased desire to hop between the offline and online worlds and their increasing mobile and social behaviors. The retail innovators over the next five years will demonstrate customer enablement across all touchpoints, not just via a PC-based Web browser.”
Despite consumers’ increasing use of the Web to research products before purchasing, most retailers fall short on offering a seamless cross-channel experience. According to Forrester’s data, while 82 percent of US online consumers are satisfied with buying experiences that began and ended in a store, satisfaction drops to 61 percent for consumers who began their research online and purchased in a store.
Here is the US Online Retail Forecast, 2009-2014 (Forrester Research)
* In the US, Web shopping will account for 8 percent of total retail sales by 2014.
* Three product categories dominate online retail: apparel, footwear, and accessories; consumer electronics; and consumer hardware, software, and peripherals. Together, those categories represent more than 40 percent of total online retail sales in the US.
* By 2014, 53 percent of total retail sales in the US will be influenced by eCommerce as consumers increasingly use the Internet to research products before purchasing.