Relatively strong growth was seen in the global Internet and E-Commerce sector in 2007-2008, despite the global economic crisis. Growth in 2009-2010 will be centered on worldwide use of the Internet in general, access to the Internet via mobile devices and consumer access to entertainment online (such as television programs viewed online).
Retailing online continues to be a booming business. Total online sales reached approximately $131 billion in the U.S. during 2007 (not including sales of travel), according to eMarketer, and will grow to $183.9 billion in 2012. Plunkett Research estimates those sales were $145.6 billion in 2008.
U.S. travel sales online for 2008 were about $105 billion, according to eMarketer, or about 14.2% of all U.S. travel expenditures. Plunkett Research estimates global travel expenditures online at about $300 billion for 2008.
Convergence Arrives: The Internet is about saving time (and therefore saving money), and the potential of the Internet has barely been tapped. New methods of taking advantage of efficiencies are becoming widely accepted, as access to high-speed broadband Internet connections becomes commonplace. Users of the Internet (both business and consumer) are multiplying around the globe, and many companies are earning terrific profits in the process of serving those users. The long awaited phenomenon of вЂњconvergenceвЂќ of entertainment, computing and communications has arrived. One of the most exciting examples of such convergence is the phenomenal success of AppleвЂ™s iTunes online music service. During 2007, iTunes captured about 70% of worldwide online digital music sales, and strengthened its hold on the music download industry thanks to AppleвЂ™s incredibly popular personal digital music playerвЂ”the iPod. Thanks to the iPod and other entertainment devices, viewers are turning to the Internet for television shows and movie downloads to a growing extent.
Top selling product and services categories online include travel, clothing and accessories, books, music, videos, electronics and specialty foods including wines. In these markets, online shopping amounts to a significant share of sales. (For a complete picture of leading consumer purchases on the Internet, add gambling, games and information leading to automobile purchases to this list. In addition, health information and general news are among the most commonly sought online data.)