Despite the recession, online retail sales will likely keep climbing in 2009. According to projections from Forrester Research, U.S. online retail sales are expected to rise 11 percent to $156 billion this year, excluding revenue from travel. However, that will mark a slowdown in the overall growth rate, which was 13 percent in 2008, when online retail sales totaled $141 billion, Forrester researchers said.
The research company's analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru, said the majority of the 2009 growth in online spending will come at the expense of physical stores. She expects more consumer dollars to be spent online because it's easier for people to comparison shop and to find what they're looking for. The study projects that online sales this year will make up seven percent of overall retail revenue in 2009. This compares with six percent in 2008.
Mulpuru suggested that the web based retailer, Amazon.com Inc., is primed to benefit from this trend. However, some big retailers with a web presence, such as Best Buy Co. and Macy's Inc., could continue to capture a disproportionate share, since consumers are familiar with those brand names.
Forrester arrives at its projections by extrapolating from the results on mail and online surveys that ask consumers about their shopping and spending habits. The Forrester view coincides with predictions from other retail research and marketing firms.
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