Forrester expects US digital-influenced retail sales to grow from $2.7 trillion in 2022 to $3.8 trillion in 2027. These figures represent a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2%.

  • Forrester defines digital-influenced offline retail sales as purchases from consumers who research products online but then buy them physically, at the store.
  • The term “research” is broad: Consumers look for product price, quality, features, availability, warranty, shipping information, consumer ratings, and more. They also compare a product’s price and features with those of other products before making a brand or purchase decision.
  • Digital-influenced total retail sales (or, simply, digital-influenced retail sales) represent the total impact of the internet and include online retail sales and digital-influenced offline retail sales (see figure below).

Digital-influenced retail sales’ share of total US retail sales will rise to 70% in 2027. In that same year, US digital-influenced offline retail sales will grow to $2.2 trillion, and US online retail sales will grow to $1.6 trillion.

How do US digital-influenced retail sales vary across categories?

  • Forrester provides retail sales data for 30 categories in its US retail forecasts. In 2021, only 11 categories had online retail penetration of more than 50%, but 28 categories had digital influence share of more than 50%.
  • The reason for high digital influence varies across categories: Consumers often do more research and invest more time to identify the right product in high-value or high-consideration categories such as furniture and large household appliances. In information-intensive categories like consumer electronics, computer hardware, and computer peripherals, online content helps a consumer distinguish one make and model from another. In categories such as computer software, music, video games, videos, and DVDs, digital influence is already more than 90%, because these products are increasingly sold only online.
  • Regularly purchased offline items such as food and drink and categories with high physical product immediacy are less influenced by online behavior.

Our recently published 2022 Digital-Influenced Retail Sales Forecast, US report provides a five-year forecast for digital-influenced offline retail sales and digital-influenced total retail sales across 30 retail categories for the years 2022 to 2027, with historical data going back to 2004.

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