One Sticky Web: Online Influence on U.S. Retail To Grow

One Sticky Web Online Influence on U.S. Retail To GrowResearch firm Forrester, Inc. says the web will account for or influence 59 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2018, up from 52 percent this year.

Its new report — “U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Sales Forecast: 2014 to 2018” — also suggests that sales which consumers begin via a digital medium but complete offline will account for $1.774 trillion in retail spending in 2018. That’s up from $1.386 trillion in 2014.

“Consumers are ‘preshopping’ across more categories on digital devices, including phones and tablets,” says report author and Forrester e-retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, “while the availability of more information at shoppers’ fingertips even when they are on the go is a significant driver of the growth in cross-channel shopping.

The report summary from Internet Retailer notes that product categories like food and furniture lend themselves to those web-influenced sales more often than for more sporadic purchases like events or movie tickets, for instance.

The research also pinpoints other factors which spur web-influenced sales:

  • Smartphone ownership, since 68 percent of U.S. online adults now  using their phones to access the web inside stores, according to Forrester.
  • Retailers’ “omnichannel efforts,” which include store associates using mobile devices to check inventory.
  • The relatively small size of e-commerce in relation to the U.S. retail economy; between 2014 and 2018, Forrester says, 75 percent of U.S. retail sales growth will come from offline sales, including those influenced by the web.