Online retail sales to reach nearly $250 billion in 2014

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E-tailers can expect to see a rise in business over the coming years, according to data from Forrester Research. In a five-year forecast, the firm predicts that e-commerce sales in the US will grow by 10% annually through 2014. Web-based retail sales will reach nearly $250 billion in 2014, up from $155 billion last year. At that point, online transactions will represent 8% of all retail sales in the US, up from 6% in 2009.

Forrester expects a similar, albeit slightly faster growth rate for Western Europe, with online sales increasing by 11% yearly. The outfit believes Internet sales in the region will climb from $93 million (68 million) in 2009 to $156 million (114.5 million) in 2014.

Forrester's figures exclude autos, travel, and prescription drugs. Computers, consumer electronics, and apparel represented more than 44% ($67.7 billion) of online sales last year. Interestingly, while $155 billion worth of consumer goods were purchased online in 2009, $917 billion worth of retail sales were "Web-influenced." Online and "Web-influenced" offline sales together accounted for 42% of all retail sales and that will grow to 53% by 2014

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