U.S. online retail sales will exceed $506 billion this year and by 2022, will surpass $712 billion, according to a study released this week by Forrester Research. Nearly all American adults — 98% — already go online at least once a day, according to the report, which was emailed to Retail Dive.
More than half — 53% — of the $3.7 trillion U.S. retail market will be driven through digital touchpoints by the end of the year, the researchers also said.
E-commerce is also quickly moving into the devices in people’s hands: More than $1.3 trillion of U.S. retail sales will be impacted by smartphones in 2018, according to the report.
For a while now, it's been pretty clear that U.S. shoppers expect lower prices online, and the research from Forrester found that 61% of adults here believe they find better value and deals online while roughly half also say that the product information found online is more useful than what’s available in the store.
That points to the importance of knowledgeable store staff. Other research has found that retailers are losing customers fast as frustration builds when store associates are nowhere to be found. A third of shoppers who experienced a problem at apparel stores were not able to locate sales help, for example, and 6% of all possible sales are lost because of lack of service, according to a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management late last year.
The amount of time and dollars spent online is sending retailers scrambling: 71% last year planned to increase their investment in web optimization. But while shoppers may be heading to websites and apps for deals and information, where they begin and end their journey often involves a store, making it difficult to determine any more what "e-commerce" fully is.