Online Shopping Overview: Statistics and Facts on eCommerce in the USA

With a total revenue topping $343 billion in 2012, eCommerce has proven to be an integral part of the US economy. The steady growth of online shopping in conjunction with the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet is only expected to continue, with some forecasts predicting that Internet commerce will generate over $500 billion by 2016.

The Growth of eCommerce

Online shopping in the USA has grown extensively over the last decade. Amounting to only $72 billion in 2002, total eCommerce revenue has since grown over 476%, totaling $343 billion in 2012. This includes an increase of close to 14% for 2012 alone, up from $301 billion in 2011. An increase of 12% is expected for 2013, with the total revenue topping $384 billion.

eCommerce revenue is expected to roughly follow a 10% compound annual growth rate over the next several years. Forecasts predict total business-to-consumer revenue topping $426 billion in 2014, $469 billion in 2015, and $515 billion in 2016.

Online Retail Stats

Retail eCommerce generates the majority of online revenue. Totaling $225.5 billion in 2012, retail accounted for more than 65% of overall sales.

Online retail has seen a growth rate of roughly 16% per year since 2010. This growth rate is expected to level off slightly: online retail revenue is forecasted to grow by a yearly rate of 13% to 14% over the next several years, totaling $384 billion by 2016.

The increased revenue is largely due to an increase in the number of online shoppers. In 2011, American consumers who shopped on the web totaled 143.4 million. This number rose to 149.8 million in 2012. The total number of online shoppers in the US is expected to top 156 million in 2013, increasing to 162 million by 2014.

An increase in relative consumer spending also adds to the overall increase in revenue. In 2011, the average American digital buyer spent a total of $2,104 online. This number rose to $2,293 in 2012, and is projected at $2,466 for 2013. By 2016, the average online shopper in the USA is expected to spend $,2937.

The Most Popular eCommerce Products and Services

In 2012, travel websites generated over 33% of the total US eCommerce revenue, making it the highest-earning eCommerce category. This includes sites used for booking vacations, flights and hotels.

The second highest-earning category is consumer electronics and software, which brought in a total of $41.9 billion in 2011 and $48.6 billion in 2012. With a revenue of $34.2 billion in 2011 and $41 billion in 2012, clothing is the third-most popular category for online shoppers.

Entertainment media such as books, movies and music is the fourth-highest earner, generating a total revenue of $17.2 billion in 2011 and $20.4 billion in 2012. This is largely due to the increasing popularity of digital media and online resellers, allowing entertainment media to surpass the category of automobiles and accessories which earned $17 billion in 2011 and $18.3 billion in 2012. The sixth highest-earning category is furniture and home accessories, which brought in $14.2 billion in 2011 and $16.5 billion in 2012.

Health and personal care items is another popular category online, generating $8.7 billion in 2011 and $10.1 billion in 2012. This is followed by office supplies, which brought in a total revenue of $7.1 billion in 2011 and $7.9 billion in 2012. Finally, toys and hobby items round out the list, generating a total of $6.7 billion in 2011 and $7.8 billion in 2012.

Mobile Shopping

With the ever-increasing popularity of tablet computers and smart phones, mobile shopping has also seen extensive growth over the last several years. In 2012, mobile commerce earned more than $10 billion, with over 37.6 million consumers using their mobile devices for retail services. This number is expected to grow extensively over the following years as portable Internet-connected devices and mobile marketplaces become more common.