Online spending in the US is expected to hit USD54.5 billion in the run-up to Christmas, as the internet continues to play an increasingly important role in the retail industry. A report from eMarketer predicts that revenues in November and December will increase 16.8% year on year, the fourth consecutive year of growth following a decline in 2008, when the country was in recession. Overall, e-commerce sales are expected to top USD224.2bn in the US this year as people increasingly head online to make purchases, lured by convenience, cost and the ease with which users can browse across multiple stores reports StrategeyEye.
“Despite an economy that continues to be tough for many consumers, another strong US online holiday shopping season is taking shape,” says the report. “Consumers will turn to the internet to stay within their budgets, locate hard-to-find gifts and avoid crowded stores.”
The internet’s share of total retail sales will continue to grow, with separate figures from Nielsen estimating that e-commerce will account for 7% all retail spend this year, rising to 9% in 2016. And while the number of shoppers is on the rise, much of the growth in e-commerce is on the up because people are generally spending more time on the web. As the online shopping market matures and people become more used to buying on the web, the number and size of transactions is on the up.
Consumers are also increasingly attracted to online shopping due to the deals and discounts on offer. As the market becomes more competitive, retailers are turning to aggressive pricing and limited-time sales events to drive up revenues. Many consumers believe they are more likely to find a deal online, with the internet making it far easier to browse different stores to find the best price or offer. The rise of smartphones and tablets means that people are almost always carrying an internet-connected device with them and may be more inclined to browse while riding the bus or waiting for a train, for example. Sites such as Facebook are also keen to move into commerce, with many brands now using recommendations by friends to persuade people to buy products and services online.