March 31, 2010, 12:00 AM

Consumers will buy or research online half of purchases by 2014, Forrester says

As online retail sales grow by 10% a year for the next five years, by 2014 the web will account for 53% of all U.S. retail says.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

The web accounts for billions in retail sales and, as numerous studies have shown, affects consumers as they make purchases in stores. Now Forrester Research predicts as online retail sales grow by 10% a year for the next five years, the web will influence 53% of all U.S. retail sales by 2014.

Forrester forecasts U.S. online retail sales will increase 11% in 2010 to $172.9 billion from $155.2 billion in 2009 and account for 7% of this year’s retail purchases, excluding autos, travel and prescription drugs.

Forrester estimates U.S. e-retail sales also increased 11% last year, but only accounted for 6% of total retail sales. The increase this year is based on the web continuing to take market share from retail stores; the Forrester report cites a National Retail Federation projection of total retail sales growing only 2.5% in 2010, well below the 11% growth Forrester predicts for online sales.

By 2014, e-retail sales will total $249 billion, Forrester predicts in the study entitled “U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2009 to 2014,” by analysts Sucharita Mulpuru and Peter Hult. The report also predicts sales influenced by the web that year will reach $1.409 trillion, and that the direct web sales and those influenced by the Internet will account for 53% of retail sales in 2014. The web accounted for or influenced 42% of retail sales in 2009, Forrester estimates.

Over the five-year period, Forrester predicts a 9% compound annual growth rate for sales influenced by the web. The report says 70% of U.S. online consumers already have researched products online and then bought them offline.

don@verticalwebmedia.com

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