Ecommerce Will Keep Rolling, Research Firm Says
By Stu Woo (WSJ Blogs – Digits)
Internet retail sales in the U.S. will grow 10% a year through 2015 as shoppers spend more time online, Forrester Research says, and the implications aren’t good for brick-and-mortar stores.
According to a new report out Monday, U.S. ecommerce sales grew 12.6% in 2010 to $176 billion. That total will grow to $279 billion in 2015, writes Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.
The 2010 growth rate outpaced that of 2009, when ecommerce grew 11%. The usual suspects aided ecommerce’s rise: the economy’s recovery, more first-time online shoppers and greater spending per online shopper.
Ecommerce will grow over the next four years as shoppers continue to shift their spending from physical stores to online ones, the report says. Increased use of smartphones and tablet computers, greater merchandise selection and new business models, such as daily-deals sites such as Groupon, will also aid growth.
Online sales remain a relatively small part of the overall retail market. Internet sales in 2010 accounted for 8% of total retail sales, and Mulpuru projects that figure will rise to 9% this year and to 11% in 2015.
Still, Mulpuru says this trend does not bode well for brick-and-mortar stores. Not only are customers increasingly shopping online, but savvy in-store customers are also armed with smartphones that can help them find better deals elsewhere or score price-matching offers.
“Companies need to think about the permanent implications of smaller margins on stores in the longer-term future and how their multichannel initiatives can help to offset this trend,” Mulpuru writes.
Also out Monday is a Forrester report on European online sales. The report projects that, like the U.S., European ecommerce will grow 10% a year, from 81 billion euros in 2010 to 134 billion euros in 2015.
Interesting statistic from the European report: About 70% of the online population in Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden shop online. That’s the highest percentage in Europe. The lowest percentage? In Italy and Spain, only 34% of the online population buy online.