Business Trends

Comparing E-Commerce and Brick-and-Mortar Sales Trends

File Type: Article, Free Content
Release Date: June 2013
Best Buy store

Shopping in the U.S. is a way of life, but since 2010, when the consumer recovery began, where we do our shopping has become a point of keen interest, according to a recent issue of CBRE’s Econometric Advisor’s report, About Real Estate. According to CBRE, in looking at sales at brick-and-mortar stores (core retail sales with non-store sales excluded) versus e-commerce sales, it noted that over the past several quarters growth has been diminishing across the board. While spending continues to grow, core retail sales growth has dipped below its long-term trend and consumers seem hesitant to overspend because of recent economic issues such as the sequester and the debt ceiling.

Is diminishing core retail sales growth attributable in any part to consumers flocking to the internet for their shopping fix? Certainly, year-over-year growth above 15% per quarter shouldn't be classified as weak growth, but compared to growth of nearly 20% in 2010, e-commerce's expansion has decelerated a bit. The amount of consumption online seems to have stabilized in recent months.

The segments whose shares of e-commerce sales increased also saw the largest increases in brick-and-mortar store sales. Sporting goods; hobbies; books and music; and electronics and appliances saw the greatest increases, followed by clothing; computers; and furniture, according to the report. The furniture segment did see its share of total e-commerce sales increase from 8.3% to 8.6%—a small but accelerating gain. Food and beverages remained unchanged, as did health; consumers are not ready to shop for these goods online. Also evident in these recent e-commerce figures were the “showrooming” of electronics, and the consumers' willingness to purchase books, music and clothing online.