According to an estimate in a Forrester Research report, reported by The Wall Street Journal before the report's release, online sales will make up almost 9% of overall retail sales by 2016, up from 7% today. Americans spent more than $200 billion on online shopping in 2011 and are expected to spend $327 billion by 2016.
Among other factors driving the growth, flash-sale sites, online-loyalty programs and the rise of tablet computers, notably Apple’s iPad, have played a role in online retail gains.
There’s also a shift in mindset, reports the Journal. “Online shoppers believe that promotions available online are even better than what they could find elsewhere,” the report states. During the holiday season, for example, more than 70% of online shoppers purchased on the Web rather than in stores because they thought the promotions were better online.