NEW YORK, United States — U.S. online retail sales will grow about 10 percent each year between now and 2017, as more people use mobile devices and top chains build up their infrastructure, Forrester Research said in its annual forecast on Wednesday. By 2017, U.S. online retail sales should reach $370 billion, compared with $262 billion this year, according to Forrester.
The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets will help fuel that surge, a Forrester analyst said. "The increased penetration of web-enabled mobile devices boosts the amount of time consumers spend online," said Sucharita Mulpuru, the Forrester analyst who wrote the report.
Brick-and-mortar chains that have made their e-commerce capacity a top priority are reaping the benefits of those investments, Forrester said. Nordstrom Inc said last month that 20 percent of e-commerce sales came from mobile devices in 2012, compared with 4 percent two years earlier. Nordstrom was one of the first major retailers to have an "app" on Apple Inc's iPad. Nordstrom is set to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years on its e-commerce capacity.
Macy's Inc's online sales climbed 41 percent last year, helped in part by its use of nearly 300 stores to help fill orders online during the holiday season. The process required an expensive integration of Macy's inventory systems. The department store chain expects to be able to use about 500 of its fleet of about 800 stores to support its e-commerce by the autumn, and ultimately 650, Macy's Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet said at a conference on Wednesday.
Loyalty programs like Amazon.com Inc's Prime program, which offers free shipping for a subscription fee, are also spurring more online business, Forrester said.