E-commerce is flat as a percentage of total retail sales

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E-commerce sales grew by 13% in 2008 for a total of $141.3 billion, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc. However, as a percentage of total US retail sales, e-commerce volume in 2008 was flat compared to 2007 at 5%.

E-commerce growth for many companies in 2008 was slowest it has ever been and that momentum will carry over into 2009, during which Forrester predicts e-commerce sales will gain 11%.

This is in contrast to growth rates that hovered in the upper teens and low twenties not too long ago.  

While 47% of consumers recently surveyed by Forrester said they plan to shop less overall, 33% said they will do more research online and 17% said they will do more of their shopping online rather than offline.

In addition, 23% of Web buyers said they are planning to spend more online, 40% said they are planning to spend more in discount stores, 27% said they are planning to spend more in membership clubs and 10% said they are planning to spend more in general department stores.

Forrester projects that Web revenues will accelerate by 2010, with sales increasing 13%. Sales growth is expected to slow again starting in 2011, when the increase will be 10%. In 2012, Forrester predicts a 9% gain and, in 2013, an 8% gain.

Online sales will start to pick up after 2008 when measured as a percentage of total US retail sales. Forrester predicts online sales will account 6% of total US retail sales in 2009 and 2010, 7% in 2011 and 8% in 2012 and 2013.

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