Dive Brief:

  • Signaling the long-term growth of e-commerce, U.S. online retail sales are projected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2027 and the overall retail sector will generate $5.5 trillion by 2027, a new Forrester report predicts. The firm also projects that U.S. online retail sales will surpass $1 trillion this year.
  • Buy online, pick up in store transactions will reach $100 billion this year and will be greater than $200 billion by 2027, the firm projects.
  • The firm’s research predicts that offline retail sales will comprise 70% of total retail sales by 2027.

Dive Insight:

While the COVID-19 pandemic drove the rapid rise of e-commerce in 2020, some of the retail growth shifted from online to offline in 2021, Forrester noted. Brick-and-mortar retail sales rose 14% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the report.

Forrester attributed the 2022 e-commerce growth to lower prices, more comprehensive product assortment, speedier deliveries and streamlined transaction convenience as the online retail environment returns to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

Forrester’s research echoes previous reports indicating that online spending could reach $1 trillion in 2022. Adobe’s Digital Economy Index report, released in March 2021, predicted that e-commerce sales would reach $1 trillion this year and found that 30% of online shoppers would rather use BOPIS or curbside pickup instead of delivery. Another report released last month from FTI Consulting projected that online retail sales will reach $1.07 trillion this year, which the firm previously predicted would happen in 2025.

While lower prices would be a welcome change for consumers dealing with inflation, Forrester noted in its report that retailers’ profits could be affected due to excess inventory or consumers’ inflation concerns. Target, alongside other major retailers, has had to reassess its financial expectations amid rising inflation and an overflow of products.

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