Americans spent $155.2 billion dollars online in 2010 – an 11% jump in gross revenue from 2009.
According to new Forrester research, U.S. online retails sales will only continue to grow. Experts predict future increases to top out at 10% a year, compounded annually, reaching $249 billion in 2014. Online retailers in Western Europe are poised to see growth at a rate of 11% annually.
Top categories bought online may surprise you. Clothing is the most popular item, followed by consumer electronics and computers –accounting for nearly 40% of all online retail sales within the U.S. The online clothing market ballooned hit $27 billion dollars in 2009 alone, increasing by 17% from 2008.
Research suggests that the online clothing retail market will expand to even greater levels in year to come.
What’s driving consumers online? Likely, a combination of retail motivators. Shopping online is much quicker than driving to the mall and it’s far easier to price shop. In-store retailers are already dropping additional products due to a lack of inventory space, so shopping online also tends to lead to the best selection.
Social shopping tools are also at play. Of course, it’s possible to drag a friend or family member to a store to ask their opinion about a digital camera or a new laptop – but it’s far easier to copy and paste a link or use one of innumerable digital bookmarking tools. When friends aren’t available or haven’t ‘experienced’ a product, virtual friends in the form of bloggers and online reviewers gain importance. If virtual friends like certain products, the number of online sales will rise. If online opinion influencers advise users to steer clear of certain products, the online community will follow their advice.
Marketers should make sure that they’re aware of their online reputation – $249 billion dollars in revenue will soon depend upon it.