US online retail growth slows

05 March 2009

NEW YORK: Online retail sales growth slowed to 6% in the US last year, down from 21% in 2007, and marking the lowest rate of expansion since the dotcom crisis in 2003, according to figures from online measurement firm comScore.

Online retail in America has grown by an annual average of over 20% between 2003 and 2007, and has an estimated market value of $130 billion (€103bn; £92bn), rising to $221bn when taken to include travel.

Among the categories posting declines in spending levels during 2008 were music, movies and videos (down 22%), office supplies (–20%), jewellery and watches (–20%) and event tickets (–13%).

By contrast, sectors seeing growth included video games and consoles (+7%), apparel and accessories (+8%), furniture (+14%), books and magazines (+13%) and sports and fitness equipment (+42%).

A study from Prophis eResearch has also found that online consumer reviews are increasing in importance in certain sectors among US web users.

It found that in certain sectors, such as computer hardware and software and consumer electronics, almost 40% of people said online reviews were important in shaping their purchase decisions.

Over a quarter of the 1,600 consumers surveyed also look to consumer reviews when buying major appliances, booking personal travel and buying smaller items like books.

Data sourced from eMarketer/eProphis Research; additional content by WARC staff