The growth of online retail sales has slowed significantly over consecutive quarters for the first time ever, according to one research firm, which issued a report predicting that e-commerce will ultimately account for no more than roughly 30 percent of total sales.
“For years, it has been taken as an article of faith that online retail sales will grow at mid-teen rates indefinitely,” according to the 2019 U.S. Online Retail Forecast, published by FTI Consulting, a Washington, D.C.–based business advisory firm. “But the script was flipped in mid-2018 when online sales growth began to decelerate towards the low-12 percent vicinity.”
FTI Consulting's online-sales category encompasses the transactions of regular retailers and those of pure-play e-commerce businesses.
Online grocery sales will never represent a 'significant' share of total e-commerce sales, the report predicts
This trend will continue, the report asserts, with U.S. online retail sales hitting $575 billion this year, up 12 percent from last year's $513 billion. These sales are then set to increase yet again next year by an additional 12 percent, to $646 billion.
As for online grocery sales, that is a category “we firmly believe won’t ever achieve significant online market share.”
By Edmund Mander