The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), and Greenfield Online today announced plans to create an index of online retail trends. The National Retail Federation/Forrester Online Retail Index will aggregate online sales data by product category and dollar value from monthly surveys of 5,000 online shoppers. The NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index will provide the most current and comprehensive assessment of what is happening in consumer spending via the Internet.

“We are very excited about the index and what this information will mean to the NRF membership,” said NRF President Tracy Mullin. “For the first time, our members will be able to get consistent data by product category on the state of the online market. We’re equally excited about the involvement of Forrester and Greenfield Online in the index. Their participation will ensure the integrity of the data and shed light on the findings.”

“Business-to-consumer sales via the Internet became fundamental to the retail landscape in 1999,” said Forrester Research President George F. Colony. “To better understand which categories are changing the fastest, retailers need to know what consumers are buying through this powerful new channel. The index data on consumer spending patterns will be the first and best research available to help retailers understand these trends.”

“To implement this powerful index for retailers, Greenfield Online will make available access to the 1.4 million online consumers in our research panel and our state-of-the art surveying technologies,” said Rudy Nadilo, Greenfield Online president and CEO. “Forrester was among the first to recognize us as the leading provider of Internet-enabled consumer research data, and we appreciate this new opportunity to work with the National Retail Federation,” he added.

The NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index will be based on a survey of 5,000 online shoppers. The survey, to be developed by Forrester and fielded by Greenfield Online, will track online purchases by category and dollar value. The first survey results will be reported by March 1, 2000, and will be available on both the NRF ( and Forrester ( Web sites.

With its focus on consumer survey data, the new index supplants a similar index announced last July by the NRF and Forrester. The previous index planned to aggregate retail sales data from the nation’s leading retailers, catalogers, and manufacturers on a quarterly basis. The new index was created to provide an accurate representation of consumer trends online by tracking recent purchases.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world’s largest retail trade association with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalogue, Internet, and independent stores. NRF members represent an industry that encompasses more than 1.4 million US retail establishments, employs more than 20 million people — about 1 in 5 American workers — and registered 1999 sales of $3.0 trillion. NRF’s international members operate stores in more than 50 nations. In its role as the retail industry’s umbrella group, NRF also represents 32 national and 50 state associations in the US as well as 36 international associations representing retailers abroad.