Even as many retailers continued to lose steam in 2010's slow-moving economy, eCommerce remained at the top of its game with $176.2 billion in sales for the year — a figure that is expected to reach nearly $300 billion by 2015, according to a recent Forrester Research Report.
What's even more surprising is that online sales grew for the first time in years, says Forrester, partly reflected by the recession-driven drop in growth rates for 2008 and 2009. But the reversal of this steady decline in web sales has many influences, including deal sites such as the one you are currently browsing.
In addition to new web buyers pouring in by the millions, more experienced online shoppers are spending more money on "high-touch, high-consideration goods," such as furniture and appliances. Convenience and a wider selection of products has lured consumers from shopping for these goods in the traditional brick-and-mortar retailer to the online store. Forrester calls this phenomenon the "cannibalization of store sales."
Not surprisingly, this shift from physical to virtual shopping increases during holidays and major sales events, such as Black Friday. According to the Forrester survey, 83% of shoppers said that they preferred to shop online during the Thanksgiving weekend. Widespread connectivity to the Internet, through smartphones and other handheld devices, also contributed to the increase in online sales. Armed with their iPhones wherever they go, savvy shoppers have spiked weekend and holiday web sales.
Even smaller online retailers have attracted more shoppers through the emergence of eCommerce consultants, such as Elastic Path, and innovative business models on the web. Flash sales and daily deal sites that post limited sales offers "are likely to be permanent fixtures in the retail landscape in the coming decade," claims Forrester.
If eCommerce sales do reach $3 billion by 2015, that still amounts to just 11% of retail sales. We want your opinion. When will online sales overtake in-store sales?