E-Commerce Sales to See Strong but Slowing Growth as Channel Matures

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COVID-19 Gives Big Boost to Food and Beverage Segment, Stymies Others

CommPRO Editorial Staff

E-commerce sales for all channels in the US are forecast to advance 9.6% annually in nominal dollars through 2024, according to E-Commerce: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Retailers will benefit from the continued popularity of shopping from home, as well as increasing disposable personal income levels and consumer access to credit. Brick-and-mortar retailers will continue using e-commerce to augment sales and give consumers the option of picking up or returning items at stores, representing ongoing efforts to perfect their omnichannel strategies. Sales originating from mobile devices (sometimes called “m-commerce”) are projected to climb at an above average pace due to increasing popularity and the convenience of shopping from a mobile phone. However, sales are expected to slow from historical rates as e-commerce advances along the adoption curve. Older consumers, who may be less comfortable using internet shopping methods, and those without reliable internet access will also limit the number of potential e-commerce shoppers.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 in the US is expected to have mixed effects for e-commerce firms. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and consumer fear of contracting the virus will cause more customers to turn to e-commerce to acquire household staples, temporarily raising e-commerce’s share of retail sales. However, deteriorating economic conditions will crimp discretionary spending overall, offsetting gains. Segments are expected to see unequal impacts from the pandemic; for example, purchases of electronics and appliances are expected to slow during the pandemic as consumer confidence and incomes drop and households delay major purchases, but revenues attributable to online ordering of food and beverages will continue to skyrocket.

These and other key insights are featured in E-Commerce: United States. This report forecasts to 2024 US e-commerce retail sales in nominal US dollars for electronic shopping (e-shopping) and mail-order houses. Sales are segmented by merchandise line in terms of:

  • apparel and accessories
  • electronics and appliances
  • furniture and furnishings
  • multimedia and software
  • health, beauty, and drug
  • recreation goods
  • food and beverages
  • office equipment and supplies
  • other merchandise such as collectibles, hardware, and jewelry
  • non-merchandise receipts such as advertising, commissions, customer support, and shipping and handling

This report also shows forecasts for e-commerce retail sales by type of establishment, specifically:

  • e-shopping and mail-order houses
  • motor vehicle dealers and parts stores
  • clothing and accessory stores
  • food and beverage stores
  • general hardware stores
  • recreation goods stores
  • electronics and appliance stores
  • other establishments such as furniture and home furnishings stores, health and personal care stores, and general merchandise stores

To illustrate historical trends, e-commerce retail sales, total retail sales, and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2009 to 2019.

For the purposes of this report, e-commerce refers to sales arranged over the internet, including mobile (m-commerce). Payment may or may not be made via the internet. This report excludes business-to-business (B2B) sales of new and used merchandise, as well as spending on multimedia streaming services. Electronic activities of the agriculture, construction, and mining sectors, as well as non-merchant wholesalers and parts of the service sector are also excluded.

 

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