U.S. Online Retail Sales Growing 14% In 2017

U.S. online sales are expected to reach more than $459 billion in 2017, rising 14% from last year and accounting for 12.9% of the anticipated $3.56 trillion in total retail sales, according to Forrester Research. Total retail sales (both online and offline) are projected to grow by $129 billion over 2016. By 2022, online will account for 17% of all retail sales, according to the Forrester report.

One cause of the spending growth is the increased confidence level of the American shopper. In June 2017, 54% of U.S. consumers were confident or very confident in the chances for a strong economy — up from 46.3% a year earlier.

The online shopping experience clearly has a major effect on e-Commerce sales: The Forrester 2016 Customer Experience Index found that digital retailers delivered 17 positive experiences for every negative one, compared with just 13 among traditional retailers.


As e-Commerce continues to gain a greater share of total sales, businesses are ramping up their digital business teams. Digital teams across all sectors now average 112 employees, up from an average of 94 just one year ago. For retailers, that number is even higher now, averaging 125 employees. Technology (28%) and marketing (14%) make up the lion’s share of roles on digital business teams.

Apparel, Electronics, Computers Total $150 Billion In Sales

Clothing, consumer electronics and computers currently dominate the e-Commerce market, accounting for $150 billion in sales — nearly one-third of all online sales. By 2022, Forrester projects that housewares will replace computers as the third-largest product category, with almost half of the spending for this product category occurring online.

Digital music streaming sales drive only a small portion of online sales, accounting for $2.5 billion in 2016 — approximately one-third of all music sales in the U.S. Digital video sales were $10 billion in 2016, and subscription streaming accounted for roughly $6 billion, with another $4 billion through video on demand. 

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