August 12, 2003, 12:00 AM

25 million new households to shop online over next 5 years, Forrester says

Close to 5 million U.S. households will join the online shopping community in each of the next 5 years, Forrester Research reports. It adds that online retail sales will grow 19% annually over the same period to nearly $230 billion by 2008.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Close to 5 million U.S. households will join the online shopping community in each of the next 5 years, increasing the total number of online-shopping households by 67% to 63 million by 2008, Forrester Research reports. Over the same period, Forrester predicts that online retail and travel sales will grow at a steady year-over-year rate of 19%, rising from $95.7 billion this year to $229.9 billion in 2008. In addition to an expanding online consumer base, online sales will also benefit from an increase in product categories and efforts by e-retailers to optimize shopping experiences through site improvements like image zooming, Forrester says in its report, “U.S. eCommerce Overview: 2003 to 2008.”

"Although we`ve seen e-commerce growth begin to slow over the past several years, online retail continues to grow and mature," said Carrie Johnson, senior analyst at Forrester. "We are seeing considerable growth with products that have taken longer to gain traction with consumers.”

Product categories that will show increased activity in online sales over the next five years include food and beverage, sporting goods and home furnishings, growing faster than traditional online categories such as books and travel services, Forrester says.

The most dramatic growth over the next five years will come from the food and beverage category, where online sales will surge nearly five-fold, from $3.7 billion to $17.4 billion, Forrester says.

It notes that online sales of sporting goods, with a boost from the used goods market, will grow about 350%, from $1.7 billion to $6 billion. It adds that nearly a third of online sales of sporting goods will come from sales of used products.

Forrester says that online sales of books, which accounted for 14% of e-commerce sales in 2000, will drop to 3% of total online sales by 2008.

Forrester also notes that 84% of the top 92 e-commerce sites by sales offer zoom technology for better viewing of product images among other site design improvements. It adds that a stronger emphasis on site design and usability are leading to increased sales conversion rates.

 

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