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An Eventual Plateau Seen For Online Retail Sales

Sites should refocus on their marketing value.
U.S. online sales are expected to plateau at 10 percent to 15 percent of the total amount of dollars consumers spend with retailers, a market research firm says.

However, online browsing and research is expected to influence 40 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2011, JupiterResearch said Tuesday. The impact of online behavior on offline sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent during the same timeframe.

As a sales channel, however, the Internet is maturing, and existing online buyers are expected to drive future growth, JupiterResearch analyst Patti Freeman said in a statement. Over the coming decades, online retail sales is expected to plateau at 10 percent to 15 percent of total U.S. retail sales, "barring a dramatic change in the online shopping experience that promotes an inordinate spending shift among buyers."

U.S. online sales this year is expected to increase from 2006 by 16 percent to $116 billion, JupiterResearch said. By 2011, sales are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent, reaching $171 billion.

As online sales mature, retailers should focus on the advertising and marketing value of their Websites, creating clear, simple and convenient links to offline channels to persuade shoppers to head to brick-and-mortar locations, JupiterResearch said in its recent "U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2006 - 2011."