Sourced From eMarketer

Online retail sales in the US will rise by almost 25% this year, according to a new study released by and conducted by Forrester Research.

Forrester expects online retail sales to increase to US$109.6 billion this year from US$89 billion in 2004. Including travel sales, total e-commerce revenues are projected to grow to US$172.4 billion from US$141.4 billion.

The projections are in line with eMarketer’s latest online retail estimates. Using US Department of Commerce figures as a baseline, eMarketer estimates that US online retail sales will reach US$84.5 billion this year, a 22.1% increase. Unlike eMarketer, Forrester includes online auction gross merchandise sales in its totals.

“Internet retailing has entered its young adulthood,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of eMarketer’s “E-Commerce in the US” report. “The next ten years will be marked by a deepening consumer acceptance of online purchasing.”

The new report predicts that the impact of female online shoppers will be greatly felt this year. “Though initially adopted by men as a shopping tool, women are flocking to the Internet in droves to comparison shop, research, and buy,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of The report predicts that growth will be particularly strong in segments popular among female shoppers. Online sales of cosmetics and fragrances will rise 33%, sales of over-the-counter medications and personal care will increase 32%, sales of jewelry and luxury goods will be up 31% and flower, card and gift e-commerce will increase by 30%.

In its ” Women Online” report, released earlier this year, eMarketer noted the rising influence of women shoppers online. “Historically, many of the things women buy most often have been the hardest to sell online,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the report. “Apparel, shoes, cosmetics, groceries — these are infinitely more difficult to merchandise online than books or computer software. However, there are signs that this is changing.”

Apparel was the largest online shopping category in total revenue during the 2004 holiday season, according to research by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings.