November 25, 2003, 12:00 AM

2003 non-travel online sales to rise 38% to $72.6 billion, Forrester says

With increased consumer spending on non-traditional online product categories, U.S. online retail and ticket sales will rise 37.5% this year to $72.6 billion, up from $52.8 billion last year, Forrester Research is projecting.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

With increased consumer spending on non-traditional online product categories, U.S. online retail and event ticket sales will rise 37.5% this year to $72.6 billion, up from $52.8 billion last year, Forrester Research Inc. is projecting. In addition, travel sales will rise 23% this year, to $27.4 billion from $22.2 billion last year, bringing overall online consumer sales to $100 billion from $75 billion.

Forrester notes that consumers are spending more online for categories like apparel, home décor and sporting goods. "In addition to spending more money, consumers have begun to diversify their online spending habits this year. That`s the good news for online retailers," said senior analyst Carrie A. Johnson.

2003’s increase in online sales will get a boost from this year’s holiday shopping season from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when online consumer sales will rise 42% to $12.2 billion from $8.6 billion, Forrester says.

But online retailers will have to maintain high levels of customer service to maintain this growth rate, Johnson said. "The challenge this holiday season is that as increasing numbers of mainstream consumers move online, online retailers are finding themselves in greater competition with offline stores,” she said. “To keep shoppers enticed, online merchants must continue to respond with promotions like free shipping and in-store pickup."

Forrester also notes that its 2003 projection for overall online consumer sales includes a 27% rise in online event ticket sales, to $3.3 billion from $2.6 billion last year.

 

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