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Online Spending to Spike 62 Percent by 2016, Research Shows

7 Mar, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Online continues to be the new face of retail, with E-commerce sales expected to grow rapidly by 2016, according to new data from Forrester Research.

U.S. consumers spent more than $200 billion online in 2011 and will spend $327 billion in 2016, up 45 percent from $226 billion this year and 62 percent from 2011, Forrester Research forecasted.

“Key drivers of growth include consumers’ greater comfort level with purchasing various categories online, broader Web shopping capabilities with mobile and tablet devices, innovative new shopping models that divert spend away from physical stores (e.g., flash sales, subscription models), online loyalty programs, and aggressive promotional offers from Web retailers,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, author of the report, “U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2011 to 2016.”

E-retail will account for 9 percent of total retail sales in 2016, up from 7 percent currently, according to Forrester. A steady increase in Web shoppers has been an obvious boost to E-commerce sales, with 192 million U.S. consumers expected to shop online in 2016, a 15-percent increase from 167 million in 2012. Additionally, each shopper will spend more on average, a main factor in driving E-tail’s growth. In 2016, U.S. consumers will each spend an average of $1,738 online, up 44 percent from $1,207 in 2012, according to the report.

Other key insights Forrester found in its forecast included:
• Merchandising and discounting from flash sale and daily-deal retails boosted online retail’s growth.
• Twelve percent of online shoppers belonged to an online loyalty program in 2011, up from 9 percent in 2010. Of those consumers, 61 percent said they bought from the retailer whose online loyalty program they were a part of.
• Smartphones and tablets will play a continued role in E-commerce’s success, as they encourage consumers to spent more time online and encourage “shoppers to purchase more products in an impulse fashion,” Mulpuru said.

E-commerce is enjoying additional growth also due to online retailers who have improved their websites and online services, Mulpuru added.

“This is particularly true of categories such as apparel and jewelry, which have integrated rich selling tools such as zoom, color swatching and configurators,” Mulpuru said, “as well as office supply stores, which have broader payment options (e.g., small-business purchase orders online) and subscription plans for their buyers.”

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