Consumer E-Commerce Revenues to Hit $18 Billion in 1999

US consumer e-commerce revenues will grow to $18.6 billion by the end of 1999, a 615 percent increase from 1997, according to eMarketer’s eRetail Report.

According to the report, business-to-consumer e-commerce in the US accounts for almost one-quarter of total e-commerce worldwide today.

“Revenues from the consumer-directed segment, despite being dwarfed by B2B (business to business) in dollar size will grow significantly over the next several years,” said Geoffrey Ramsey, eMarketer’s statsmaster. “The business-to-consumer segment will provide thousands of retailers with new revenue opportunities and new ways of reaching new customers and enhancing customer relationships.”

The eConsumer Shopping Report projects that a steady growth trend will continue through 2002 when total US consumer electronic commerce consumer revenues are expected to reach $65.6 billion. The report also projects the number of online buyers will grow at an average annual rate of 20 percent, rising from 38.8 million at year-end 1999 to 67.2 million in 2002.

“As total online consumer revenues and the number of online buyers continue to climb, the average annual online expenditure per buyer, which will be $479 in 1999 will increase at a rapid yearly pace to reach $976 in 2002,” Ramsey said.

eMarketer’s eRetail report also found consumers will spend $7.3 billion buying merchandise online during the fourth quarter holiday season of 1999. That is a 121 percent increase from last year’s Q4 spending of $3.3 billion, and it will comprise 39 percent of the $18.6 billion predicted for US consumer e-commerce revenues.

Total US online holiday sales of $7.3 billion represent only 4 percent of total retail spending for the fourth quarter, according to eMarketer. Among those shopping online, the average Net consumer will spend $186 buying products online, although there is a wide variance among consumer buying habits.

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