According to eMarketer, in an April 2012 report, global media investment management firm GroupM estimated the average B2C ecommerce spending per user in North America will break the $1,000 threshold this year. Since 2009 the average amount U.S. Internet users spent annually shopping online increased roughly $100 per year. This year, GroupM projects the average U.S. Internet user will spend $1,042 on ecommerce, with Canada trailing slightly, at $1,009 on average. Even using a broad definition of B2C ecommerce, GroupM's 2012 projection for average spending per user in the U.S. is lower than eMarketer's, which focuses more narrowly on average online retail sales per U.S. Internet user, ages 14 and up ($1,042 vs. $1,497).
Though estimates differed in average values, projected year-over-year growth were within one-tenth of a percentage point of one another. eMarketer projects 10.5 percent growth from 2011 to 2012 in average U.S. retail ecommerce sales per Internet user; GroupM forecasts 10.4 percent growth in average B2C ecommerce spending this year.
The average B2C ecommerce spending per Internet user in the U.S. will continue to climb through 2015, but projections from eMarketer suggest companies should not expect such steep increases beyond 2012.
eMarketer predicts U.S. B2C ecommerce sales will total $343.4 billion by the end of the year, up 13.8 percent from 2011. Beyond 2012, annual growth rates will decline by about one percentage point each year, as the U.S. online population nears full penetration and the U.S. B2C ecommerce market reaches maturity.
According to GroupM, U.S. users will spend just slightly more than their counterparts in Canada this year on ecommerce (a difference of $33), the firm expects advertisers to spend an average of $60 more per user to target U.S. consumers in 2012. Compared to 2011, the U.S. average ad spending per user is expected to rise 7.4 percent to $174; Canada will see a 4.6 percent increase in ad spending per user to $114.
By 2015, eMarketer anticipates the gap in online ad spending per Internet user in the two countries will narrow, with average online ad spending per U.S. Internet user expected to reach $192 vs. $149 in Canada. eMarketer estimates U.S. online ad spending per user accounted for only 26.9 percent of total media ad spending per user in 2011, but that portion will increase to 35 percent by 2015 in the U.S. In Canada, it will follow a similar grow trajectory through 2015: 27.6 to 36.6 percent. Such trends signify the health of the ecommerce industry, yet they also suggest a growing recognition of the influence that online advertising has on offline purchases. In the next few years, as the use of multichannel attribution analysis becomes more common in the digital ad industry, percentages may shift as marketers acquire more hard data.
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