Overall, the outlook for overall U.S. retail ecommerce spending is bright. This year, eMarketer estimates U.S. retail ecommerce sales will reach $259 billion, an increase of 14.8 percent increase compared to 2012. Online retailing is also expected to keep growing at a 14 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2012 and 2017, eMarketer says.
But within that surging market, what specific ecommerce categories are leading the way? Computers and consumer electronics top the list of most popular online products, projected to grow from $56.8 billion this year to $87.9 billion in 2016. Apparel and accessories are projected to grow from $54.2 billion this year to $87.8 billion in 2016.
Combined, these two categories will account for nearly half (45.6 percent) of U.S. retail ecommerce sales by 2016.
And what categories show the most room for growth?
- Apparel and accessories leads the way, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 17.2 percent between 2012 and 2017.
- Food and beverage is the second most likely area to grow. Although it was the least popular type of purchase online, accounting for just $5.8 billion this year and a projected $9.4 billion in 2016, eMarketer is projecting 17 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017.
- Books/music/video are projected to have a 16.3 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017, and toys/hobby, with a projected 16.2 percent CAGR for that time frame.
While automobiles and parts are the third most popular online category in terms of sheer dollar figures, these products are also proportionately more expensive and fewer are bought online. From 2012 to 2017, eMarketer projects just 9.2 percent CAGR for this industry. Office equipment and supplies has a similarly low outlook, with just 9.2 percent CAGR projected from 2012 to 2017.
The future is brighter for furniture and home furnishings, with a projected CAGR of 14.8 percent from 2012 to 2017.
Finally, health and personal care products have room for 14.2 percent CAGR between 2012 and 2017 if some hurdles—such as the desire to test product in the real world—can be overcome.
Overall, says eMarketer, growth in all industries of ecommerce is likely to come more from current online buyers spending more, than from new converts to ecommerce spending for the first time. What does that mean to your business?
- Focus on existing customers. Target them with post-sales followup. Use email automation to serve them marketing messages and promotions tailored to their activity on your site. Reach out to them on social media to encourage them to share your site with friends and connections.
- Be mobile-ready. According to eMarketer, mobile currently accounts for 11 percent of ecommerce sales, and that share is projected to increase to 25 percent by 2017. As current desktop shoppers who are familiar with online shopping move to tablet use, they’ll expect the same experience on the smaller device, so make sure your website’s tablet interface is seamless.
Web.com can ensure your ecommerce site is ready to sell. Learn more about Web.com’s ecommerce solutions.