opinion

Revisions in 2009 Online Sales Expectations

Joe D
Only a few days ago, eMarketer ran an article that online sales were up based on a study that showed US online retail sales on average were up 11% in Q1 2009. That has now been qualified as further data indicate predictions for 2009 are not so optimistic.

Historic annual sales growth has increased steadily but eMarketer forecasts that continued recessionary pressures will cause online sales to actually contract in 2009—now estimated at a 0.4% decline.

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eMarketer senior analyst Jeffrey Grau predicts online sales to be virtually flat for 2009 and expects a return to growth in 2010 assuming the economy is in recovery then, and to approach full stride again in 2011.

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According to eMarketer projections, online sales will rebound to double-digit growth from 2011 to 2013. In the meantime as we see everywhere, there are opportunities for innovative online retailers even in the bottom of the downturn.

Look for improvement from those online retailers that can fill the void with superior customer service, rich product information and greater shopping conveniences – 2009 is all about picking up loyal market share because as things turn around you will be poised to experience rapid growth.

Be well aware, even as consumers are reining in spending, they are increasingly researching purchases online - Make sure when they finally feel comfortable making the buying decision they are coming to you to complete the transaction. Jeffrey Grau says, “There is a new breed of consumers extending their research to everyday products.”

These shoppers go online to find out whether a toy is safe, a shampoo is unscented or a diaper manufacturer is environmentally responsible – their information consumption must be satisfied! The way consumers shop is changing, and savvy online retailers will capitalize on their new behavior—and satisfy their information appetites.

For more on how a weakening economy could spell opportunity for online retailers, check out the new eMarketer report, E-Commerce in a Recession: The Impact on Consumers and Retailers (available only to eMarketer Total Access Subscribers).

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