Online Sales Forecast to Rise 13% This Year to $262 Billion

Online Sales Forecast to Rise 13% This Year to $262 BillionOnline retail sales in the U.S. should jump another 13 percent to $262 billion this year, pushing a bit past the 8 percent current share of total sales.
That is the forecast of technology and market research firm Forrester, which emphasizes that much of the growth will come from existing online shoppers.
Only 4 million people are expected to shop online for the first time in 2013, said Forrester. Growth is mainly coming from existing shoppers who are spending more time and money on the Internet looking for the best deals.
Forrester also said that the U.S. is expected to outpace sales growth at bricks-and-mortar stores over the next five years, hitting $370 billion in sales by 2017. By that time, e-commerce should represent a tenth of all retail sales in the U.S.
The still-growing popularity of smartphones and tablets is helping fuel much of the growth in online shopping.
More than half of U.S. online consumers now have smartphones, and they’re using them to research products and find the best prices. Many end up completing a transaction directly on the device. Tablet owners are also spending more of their leisure time shopping online.
“Apparel and accessories alone are a $40 billion-plus sector, which probably explains the heavy investment of players like Amazon in the space, followed by consumer electronics and computer hardware,” writes Sucharita Mulpuru in a blog post for Forrester.

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