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Mobile Propels Higher U.S. e-Retail Forecasts for Holiday Season and 2014 Calendar Year

Recent forecasts from eMarketer estimate eCommerce retail sales will exceed $305 billion in 2014, a 16 percent increase from last year, as more than $72 billion in eCommerce sales are expected to occur during the holiday season. These e-retail volume forecasts include transactions completed from mobile devices, which are expected to grow by 37 percent from last year and comprise 19 percent of the total eCommerce market by the end of 2014.

Online holiday retail sales have continued to increase each year even as brick-and-mortar retail sales declined in the United States in years past. The growing eCommerce retail sales volume is expected to continue on this growth path for the 2014 holiday season as well. According to forecasts from eMarketer, eCommerce will account for 8.4 percent of holiday season retail sales totaling $72.4 billion. eCommerce retail sales are then expected to reach $305.7 billion on the year, an increase of $61.4 billion from 2013. These figures show that U.S. consumers shop more online and from mobile devices during the holiday season than they do during other times of the year as eCommerce is expected to represent a smaller share, 6.5 percent, of total retail sales for the 2014 calendar year.

Brick-and-mortal holiday spending still trumps eCommerce sales which are dwarfed by the expected $861.9 billion in total holiday spending this year. Also, the annual eCommerce retail sales growth rate has slightly slowed down from a 16.5 percent year-to-year growth in 2013 to 15.7 percent expected for 2014. However, included in these eCommerce retail figures is mobile spending, which has realized rapid growth in the past four years for both holiday and full year retail sales volumes.

According to eMarketer forecasts, mobile retail sales will hit $58 billion in 2014 accounting for 19 percent of total eCommerce retail sales during the year. Forecasts have predicted rapid mobile growth as this $58 billion mobile sales figure is a 37.3 percent increase from the $42.3 billion in U.S. mobile retail sales during 2013. If the forecast holds true, this will propel mobile to represent nearly one-fifth of total eCommerce sales this year, compared to 16 percent in 2013.

While the industry should be eager to review the actual sales numbers in comparison to these forecasts, the implications should be considered right away. A major takeaway from these forecasts is that mobile may represent about 20 percent of eCommerce (including mobile) retail spending in the United States. Merchants need to be sure they are reaching customers in the channels they want to transact in and can effectively manage risk in these channels. Fraud solution vendors should ensure they are offering the tools and techniques that can be used to manage mobile channel risk accordingly.

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