Online shopping revenue in North America will top $US13 billion this year, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group for the trade association Shop.org, in one of the most optimistic forecasts yet for the nascent electronic retailing industry.
In contrast, a more-conservative study from EMarketer in New York forecasts worldwide online shopping revenue reaching just $US4.5 billion this year.
The Boston Consulting/Shop.org numbers come from a survey of 127 online retailers.
Other "The State of Online Retailing" study highlights included the following:
* Just 5 per cent of site visitors actually make purchases; only 1.6 per cent of visits result in product sales.
* Online retailers are plowing 65 per cent of their revenues into marketing and advertising, compared to 4 per cent of those revenues spent by many physical-world stores.
* Web retailers are spending $26 per order in marketing and advertising costs, versus an average of $2.50 for traditional stores.
* The top 10 publicly traded online retailers are enjoying 160 per cent year-over-year revenue growth.
* The 10 largest electronic-commerce sites account for fully half of overall industry revenue.
* Electronics, entertainment, travel and brokerages account for more than 80 per cent of the online retail market.