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  • CNet News reports that “online shopping sites, already on a roll, are getting help from the high price of gasoline, which is prompting untold numbers of consumers to boot up their PCs instead of driving their SUVs to the mall.”

    Prognostication by eMarketer suggests that online sales will increase about 22 percent between now and the end of the year to about 26 billion. While that number is still just a fraction of the roughly $435 billion in sales done in brick-and-mortar sales, store volume is expected to go up just five percent in the new three months.

    At the same time, Internet retailers plan to exploit what they see as an advantage in the marketplace. The Detroit Free Press writes that “nearly eight out of 10 Internet retailers will offer free shipping on holiday orders despite increased shipping costs from high gas prices, according to a survey released Thursday by and BizRate Research.”

    For its part, Retail Forward projects even stronger growth - online holiday sales that will grow 27 percent this year to $27 billion. “The online sales growth is fueled by more aggressive marketing by retailers and by the rising comfort level of many consumers to buy via the Internet,” according to Steve Spiwak, an economist with Retail Forward.

KC's View:
Of course, brick-and-mortar sales are working off a much bigger base, so they are going to grow at a less rate than Internet sales.

Still, it is inevitable that online sales will grow at a higher rate if only because new people joining the consumer class every day are more conversant and comfortable with the technology.

These people are the future of all shopping. This shift is just beginning.