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Ecommerce Sales Slump, But Future Looks Bright

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 9/14/2009

Online retail sales are down, but they'll be back.

America's online retailers experienced a slow first half of the year, and will finish 3.1 percent lower by the end of 2009, said online market research firm eMarketer in a recent report. High energy prices, decreased consumer spending, and high unemployment have all contributed to the recent bad news for entrepreneurs.

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"While many economists see signs of an economic recovery, consumer spending online and offline is still in the doldrums, as evidenced by poor back-to-school sales," said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst.

The research firm had previously predicted that e-sales numbers would be unchanged from a year ago, but weaker than expected performance in the second quarter prompted the revised estimate.

The news is not all bad for online retailers, however, as the report also predicted a robust turn-around next year, followed by increasing growth through 2012, after which growth will slow steadily.

The recent slump in online retailing stands in contrast to the rest of the U.S. retail sector, which came back strong in late summer on the back of the government's Cash for Clunkers program.

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