U.S. retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will total nearly $132 billion in 2009, down about 0.4 percent from 2008. Assuming the recession ends this year, as many economists have predicted, eMarketer forecasts that online sales will begin to rebound in 2010 and hit full stride in 2011.
Web research has become a priority for value shoppers in today’s recession. Currently, 86 percent of Web users are shoppers who browse, research and compare products on the Internet, but they do not necessarily buy online. Often ignored, store sales influenced by online research are three times higher than e-commerce sales.
Many consumers opt to buy online for convenience, price and broad product selection. About 81 percent of Web shoppers are also online buyers. Web consumers who refrain from buying online often get hung up on security and privacy concerns or the inability to touch and feel products. Web retailers are adding new content and features to lower these hurdles.