E-commerce sales in 30 retail categories will reach $294 billion in 2014 alone and $414 billion by 2018, according to Forrester Research's latest online retail forecast. While e-commerce will continue to grow, brick-and-mortar stores will still be a valuable aspect of the retail industry, too.
As online transactions increase by $150 billion over the next four years, Forrester notes that in-store purchases will spike by $300 billion in the same time period. Forrester also predicts that e-commerce will still only account for 11 percent of total retail transactions by then, which is good news for physical stores.
"E-commerce continues to grow, but you'd be missing a big part of the picture by underestimating the growth and changes happening in the physical store landscape as well," said Sucharita Mulpuru, a lead analyst with Forrester.
Physical stores aren't going anywhere, however, as the majority of shoppers believe that they can find a better deal in-store as webrooming remains a popular activity. A separate study by Interactions, a retail solutions and product demonstrations firm, found that 75 percent of shoppers believe they can find the lowest price in-store. Another 41 percent of shoppers prefer to seek help from in-store associates during their research process.
Mobile commerce transactions are also expected to rise. Commerce transactions in the U.S. completed on mobile phones and tablets are expected to total $114 billion in 2014, Forrester is forecasting. Two-thirds of those sales, or about $76 billion, will happen via tablet computers, while the remainder will occur on phones. The $114 billion total includes an estimated $28 billion in transaction types not typically defined as e-commerce by Forrester, such as travel and food ordering purchases.
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