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Forrester Forecasts 13 Percent Gain in Online Sales

20 Mar, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Forrester’s new forecast for 2013 says E-commerce sales in the U.S. are likely to climb 13 percent to total $262 billion, or 8 percent of total retail sales. And by 2017, that number is expected to reach $370 billion, or 10 percent of total sales, predicts analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

She says the rise will come from traditional stores’ investments in Web businesses to support a multichannel strategy, the fast pace of mobile device adoption and the fact that consumers are more comfortable with purchasing online. In part, she says, large brick-and-mortar stores such as Macy’s and Nordstrom are fueling the growth.

While she says few have executed web strategies well, those that have say that up to half of Web sales stem from efforts like “endless-aisle initiatives in which store associates save a sale by ordering an out-of-stock item for a shopper through a Web-enabled point-of-sale system.”

Another reason for the growth is post-dinner shopping: consumers using tablets and smartphones to browse and buy during the evening hours. The report says that nearly all retailers report traffic to their sites rising during evening prime-time hours. Online loyalty programs are also adding to the steady growth.

The report also says E-commerce is a booming employment opportunity that now employs 400,000.

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