The U.S. Online Retail Forecast
Middle Aged but Still Looking Good
Amazon.com, the pioneer in online retailing, celebrated its 20th anniversary this past July, and such a momentous occasion merits some reflection. When it opened its virtual doors in 1995, Amazon called itself the Earth’s Biggest Bookstore. Internet usage among U.S. adults back then was 14% compared with 87% currently according to the Pew Research Center. Today, Amazon’s domestic sales are $51 billion, making it the ninth largest U.S. retailer. Its success is an ever-present reminder that the online channel has revolutionized retailing. But this anniversary also reminds us that despite its spry appearance, online shopping has hit middle age — not in the sense of longevity but in its potential to capture market share at extraordinary rates.