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What Do You Buy Online?: Ecommerce Trends vs. In Store

By (view all posts by stella.louise)
at 1:01PM Friday March 19, 2010
under Polls/Quizzes

A couple of weeks ago, Derek mentioned a Lifehacker story about what people buy online vs. in stores as a part of his weekly roundup of favorite finance news.  It was quite an illuminating post since I would have guessed online shopping accounted for a much higher percentage of total retail sales.

As it turns out, the numbers are a bit misleading since the data represents 2007.  Certainly in the last couple of years e-commerce has seen significant growth--in fact, in 2009 online sales were 6% of total retail vs. 3.2% in 2007.  And according to Techcrunch, e-commerce grew by 11% in 2009 vs. 2.5% increase for retail sales overall.

Obviously, we're spending more and more time shopping online...
According to Forrester Research, over half of e-commerce sales are in the categories of Apparel, Shoes and Jewelry, Computer/Office Supplies and Home and Garden.  What seemed odd to me was the low percentage (3.5%) attributed to OTC medications and personal care.  Given that's the category where I do most of my online shopping (Hello LuckyVitamin and!), I would have guessed that number to be much higher.  The other surprise was the food and beverage category which garnered a whopping 5% of money spent online.

Ecommerce by Category

What percentage of shopping do you do online?  And on which category do you spend most of your online shopping dollars?  Take the poll and voice your opinion in the comments below.