FTI Consulting, Inc., the global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance their enterprise value, expects U.S. online retail sales will reach $508 billion by 2020, representing a market share of nearly 14.0 percent (or 17.0 percent, if food retailing is excluded), compared to expected online sales of $260 billion in 2013 a Compound Annual Growth Rate (“CAGR”) of nearly 11.0 percent from 2012 through 2020. FTI Consulting raised its previous online sales forecast by approximately 10.0 percent to reflect stronger than anticipated online sales beginning in late 2012. FTI Consulting attributes much of the amplified pace of online sales to the proliferation of tablet computers, which have facilitated online commerce for millions of users.
“The influence of the online channel has increasingly become a central component of the holiday shopping season, and our upward revisions reflect the fact that online sales in 2013 have exceeded our previous expectations,” said Steve Coulombe, Senior Managing Director in the Corporate Finance/Restructuring segment and the firm’s Retail & Consumer Products practice. “Tablet-enabled mobile commerce is indisputably responsible for much of this growth. The tablet has been groundbreaking for the retail industry as we know it, knocking down barriers in mobile transacting that the smartphone couldn’t.”
FTI Consulting analyzed the portion of adjusted General Merchandise, Apparel and Accessories, Furniture and Other Sales (“GAFO”) sales that were attributable to the non-store channel (including both online and catalog/call center sales) over the past two decades. The online channel’s increasing influence on holiday shopping began in 2009, when the percentage of GAFO category sales attributable to the non-store channel began to accelerate during the holiday season relative to the rest of the year. This trend has continued unabated for the last three holiday seasons, with year-over-year sales growth in the online channel averaging 17.0 percent during the last three holiday seasons.
Mr. Coulombe continued,“With shoppers less willing to stand in long lines for Black Friday promotions and the continued diminishing of catalog and call centers, customers are now more inclined to shop online during the holiday season than they are the rest of the year. We’ve seen this trend emerge over the past few years as Cyber Monday has grown in prominence. 2009 was actually a turning point for online sales, which have been on a stronger growth trajectory ever since. While there are inherent limits to the online market share potential in each product category, we believe that the online channel will continue to be the star of this holiday season and others to come.”
FTI Consulting recently released The 2013 Holiday Retail Report, which forecasts a 4.9 percent increase in holiday sales this season, based upon GAFO retail and non-store sales for the period November 2013 through January 2014. The report was authored by the firm’s team of retail and consumer industry professionals.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. (fticonsulting.com) is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,100 employees located in 25 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012.