August 4, 2017

The internet has changed the world and, as a result, has had a significant impact on most industries. And, retail is no exception. While many believe that e-commerce dominates the retail scene, it actually only plays a small part in a wider spectrum. In fact, as of Q1 2017, e-commerce only accounted for 8.5 percent of the total US$1.25 trillion retail sales across the United States. And, while that number has grown steadily over the years, the growth hasn’t been nearly as steep as many reports might suggest.

JLL’s Retail Research Director, James Cook, says the lines are blurring. “Right now, we’re still seeing statistics about what percentage is being sold online, but in a decade that will be difficult to even track. How do you track if I buy a book online and return it to a physical location? Does the store get penalised for that return? What merchant do we attribute the sale to? That’s what’s going to be important going forward.”

Growth of e-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales (last 10 years)

E-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales (Q1 2017)


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James Cook

Director, Americas Retail Research, JLL

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