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A Silver Lining in E-Commerce

Published on February 2, 2009
by Geoffrey A. Fowler

The recession is taking a serious toll on American retail, but e-commerce could emerge as a winner.

According to a new report by Forrester Research (FORR), e-commerce sales (beyond travel) are likely to grow 11 percent to $156 billion in 2009. That marks a slowdown from 13 percent growth last year and 18 percent in 2007. The major factor contributing to the pace shift is, of course, declining consumer confidence.

But e-commerce’s slowed pace is still far better than the National Retail Federation’s forecast .5 percent drop in overall retail sales this year.

That means e-commerce is stealing market share from traditional retail–and fast. By Forrester’s estimates, in 2008 e-commerce accounted for five percent of all retail sales (excluding cars, travel and prescription drugs). In 2012, Forrester thinks e-commerce could have an eight percent share.

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