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US e-sales to rocket

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Online sales in the US will rocket in the next five years as etailers become more adept at getting shoppers to part with their cash.

Online saleswill grow from $172bn this year to $329bn in 2010, equivalent to 13 per cent of total US retail sales, Forrester Research forecasts.

Travel will remain the largest online retail category, growing from $63bn in 2005 to $119bn in 2010. General merchandise - all retail categories excluding cars, food and drink, and travel - is expected to top $100bn for the first time in 2005.

Much of this increased revenue is down to etailers viewing ecommerce differently, say analysts. When ecommerce first started to gain momentum it was regarded as a low-cost way to flog goods.

Indeed, many shoppers still view the web as cheaper than the high street.

While this may still be true in some cases, existing retailers are discovering that using the web just as a way to flog their gear might not be all it's cracked up to be.

Instead, some retailers are taking a new approach to their web strategy to "enhance the online experience for existing consumers".

"Many [businesses] believe that they became too focused on sales," said Forrester analyst Carrie Johnson. "Now they're looking at their websites as a way to drive in-store traffic and increase their engagement with customers. This is a huge shift in philosophy as eCommerce enters a more sophisticated phase."

Forrester's conclusions are contained in this report: US eCommerce: 2005 To 2010. ®

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