Sales within the US internet retailing industry grew by 15% through 2012, reaching a market value of US$177 billion.
Consumers returned with greater force to the channel after the general pullback in spending during the recession. As before, convenience, pricing, and product assortment of online shopping were major sales drivers.
The US population enjoys widespread access to the internet, with the majority of adults going online via personal computers and a broadband connection from home. Extensions and evolutions of e-commerce via forms, such as mobile or social (known as m-commerce or s-commerce), are generating considerable interest.
Over half of mobile phone users owned smartphones in 2012, and penetration of other mobile devices, such as tablets, is still growing, increasing access to the internet from anywhere with a wireless connection.
In the US, e-commerce spending growth will stem from such factors as larger retail chains investing more in what is increasingly called "omnichannel" efforts -- tying together stores with the web and mobile -- along with more consumers using smartphones and tablets, what is know as "increased comfort with web shopping."
Video games hardware was the fastest growing category, with sales up 31% from 2011 from a relatively small base of less than US$1 billion. Relatedly, media products internet retailing also performed strongly, growing 18% in 2012, thanks to increasing consumer acceptance of and preference for digital versions of traditional media, such as books, movies, music and other media, that are simpler to organise, transport and maintain than their physical counterparts.
Amazon.com continued to be the undisputed leader in internet retailing in 2012, with a 17% value share. The company has increased its merchandise selection and services for both business and retail customers.
Multichannel retailers that have placed a distinct emphasis on internet operations reaped the rewards of their investments in 2012. Department stores, such as Macys and Nordstrom, both operate well-stocked, easily navigable web sites and have invested in customer engagement across both physical and digital touchpoints. Both saw strong growth in internet retailing of over 25% in 2012.
By 2017, US internet retailing will account for 10% of all US retail sales. That compares with 8% in both 2012 and 2013.
For more information on the US internet retailing market, see the latest research: US Internet Retailing Market
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