2018 U.S. Online Retail Forecast | FTI Consulting

2018 U.S. Online Retail Forecast: An Australian Comparative View

Retail & Consumer Products | Corporate Finance & Restructuring

November 12, 2018


FTI Consulting has produced our annual U.S. Online Retail Forecast since 2010. This research initiative draws data from consumer product categories including music and videos, books and magazines, toy and hobby, consumer electronics, sporting goods, and apparel.

Our Report has historically provided valuable insights about the state of online retail in the U.S., and the direction in which the market is headed. And, because Australia generally follows U.S. online retail trends, typically with some lag, it provides reliable predictions for Australian pure-play and multi-channel retailers. This year, our report also highlights a number of nuances between Australia and the United States.

A Gangbuster Year

In the U.S., retail is a US$3.5 trillion market. While store-based sales currently account for approximately 85% of total retail, online sales are booming. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, U.S. online sales were US$450 billion, with 16% year on year growth, up from 15% in 2016 and 14% or so in the preceding two years. U.S. online sales accounted for nearly one-half (46%) of the total increase in retail sales over the past year.

Australian Comparison

Australia is well and truly following the U.S. trend. Here, online retail sales are also soaring. In the last 12 months, online retail contributed $16 billion or 5% to Australian retail sales. IBIS World predicts online retail will reach $22.6 billion in 2018-19 and Australia Post says by 2020, one in 10 items will be bought online.

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