Ecommerce growth trends to watch: Mobile, Facebook, Crowdsourcing

What is the state of the ecommerce market in the US?  According to eMarketer, “2011 is showing very positive signs of being a good year as the forecast from last year is that sales are expected to raise 13.7% to $188 billion in sales.” The second quarter of this year alone has seen a 14% increase and that is as a result of the growing confidence that consumers have of making secure purchases online. There is a 16% increase in the number of people who make online purchases and it was recorded that during this past second quarter, 70% of people who use the Internet made at least one online purchase.

According to Inc Magazine, Ecommerce and online auctions is one of 6 top performing industries.  “E-tailers have also upped the savvy factor with widespread discounts, targeted advertising, and elegant, efficient site design—all created to lure customers out of brick-and-mortar stores and onto the Web. Popular product categories include clothing, footwear, jewelry, electronics, sporting goods, toys, and furniture, often sold through online commerce communities such as eBay, Newegg, and Etsy.”

What’s fueling this growth?   Here are a few growth areas leading the charge in the ecommerce market.

Mobile commerce

  • Coda Research Consultancy forecasts that mobile eCommerce revenues in the US will reach $23.8B in 2015. This is a compound annual growth rate of +65% over 2009.
  • 1-in-2 Americans will have a smartphone by Christmas, 2011, according to GigaOm.
  • Apple iPad sales have gone bananas.  During the last quarter, Apple sold 9.2 million iPads for $6B in revenue.


  • “It’s a matter of time – within the next five years or so – before more business will be done on Facebook than Amazon.” ($35 billion / year) Sumeet Lain, CMEA Capital.   Source:  Social Commerce Today.
  • “In three to five years, 10 percent to 15 percent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook” Mike Fauscette, Analyst, IDC Consulting

Crowd-sourcing / Mass customization

  • VCs like Balderton Capital are betting on user-generated product companies.  “We believe that Gemvara (an online jeweler) can become the world’s first billion-dollar user-generated product company.”
  • The design-your-own arm of Nike, NikeID, generated over $100M in 2010, according to the Economist.
  • CafePress, a leader in the crowd-sourced online print business, is planning an $80M IPO, according to TechCrunch.
  • BetaBrand raised over $1M, “E-Commerce is such an exploding area, and there aren’t really companies failing at it. There will be a ton of online clothing brands that pop up over the next year. The next Quicksilver or the next Patagonia is going to start on the Internet.”  BetaBrand is disrupting the conventional online destination site model by frequently generating new inventory via a strong community of designers.   They “design, manufacture, and release new inventions every week, thanks to collaborations with all sorts of local designers as well as our growing global community of Betabrand Model Citizens.”

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