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06/10/2021

 U.S. online sales forecast revised upward

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture
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E-commerce is on track to surpass 20% of total U.S. retail sales by 2024.

That’s according to eMarketer, which increased its forecast for U.S. retail e-commerce sales in 2021, following a strong first quarter fueled by the government stimulus. Online sales are now expected to grow 17.9% this year (higher than the 13.7% predicted in January) to reach $933.30 billion.

Total retail sales in 2021 will increase by 7.9% to $6.083 trillion, surpassing $6 trillion for the first time, according to eMarketer. The two fastest-growing categories will be apparel and accessories (up 28.7%) and home furnishings (up 11.4%). And because online sales account for about one-third of both categories’ total sales, those sectors will help drive overall e-commerce growth as well.

Total food and beverage sales are expected to show much flatter growth (3.3%) in 2021, after growing 11.8% in 2020. This comes despite e-commerce food and beverage sales growing by 21.7% this year, as online grocery shopping and dine-at-home behaviors spill over from last year, noted eMarketer.

Another category that will see flatter growth this year, especially online, is consumer electronics, whose online growth will drop to 12.0% after growing by 33.9% last year.