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amazonapp1E-commerce sales — and specifically those on mobile — are expected to continue growing over the next few years. But that doesn’t mean physical retailers are going away anytime soon.

A new study out from Forrester notes that e-commerce sales will reach $414 billion by 2018, up from a projected $294 billion in 2014. Of that $294 billion this year, Forrester predicts $87 billion of that coming from mobile transactions — a number that does not include another $28 billion from other mobile purchases on travel and food ordering apps like Uber and Domino’s Pizza. The combined $115 billion is up significantly from $72 billion in mobile transactions that Forrester recorded in 2013.

But Sucharita Mulpuru, a lead analyst with Forrester, explains in this blog post that brick-and-mortar stores won’t actually dwindle as a result of the online growth. As online transactions increase by $150 billion over the next four years, she notes that in-store purchases will spike by $300 billion in the same time period.

“E-commerce continues to grow, but you’d be missing a big part of the picture by underestimating the growth and changes happening in the physical store landscape as well,” Mulpuru wrote.

Mulpuru said that new shopping developments and success stories like Charming Charlie or Firehouse Subs show that there is still money to be made at physical retailers. She also noted existing challenges in the e-commerce market.

“There are a number of other headwinds that eCommerce also has to face like rising shipping prices and higher taxes for web pureplays,” she wrote.

In the first quarter of this year, Amazon said its shipping costs hit an all-time high for a non-holiday period. To cover those hefty fees, Amazon has raised the cost of Prime by $20 to $99 a year. However, the Seattle retail giant also recently expanded its Sunday delivery program with 15 more cities.

Forrester predicts that 54 percent of all e-commerce transactions will happen on a mobile device by 2018, although e-commerce will still only account for 11 percent of total retail transactions by then — good news for physical stores.

You can purchase the report here.


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