Leading Retailers Plan to Maintain or Increase E-Commerce Investments

Web merchants expect to maintain or increase their e-commerce investments in the near future according to a recent survey by Art Technology Group (ATG). Despite the reported decline in consumer spending, a majority of survey respondents believed that the slowing U.S. economy would either not significantly impact their e-commerce business overall, or it might even have a positive impact resulting in e-commerce growth.

The survey, conducted at ATG's annual user conference ATG Insight Live 2008, collected data from representatives of more than 50 global brands in industries ranging from retail, media and entertainment, financial services and insurance, telecommunications, consumer product manufacturing ,healthcare, and technology consulting. While all respondents reported annual Web sales of at least $10 million, the majority (a combined 58 percent of participants) reported annual Web sales of $100 million or more. Within the majority, 26 percent reported annual Web sales of $1 billion or more. Representatives included e-commerce, marketing, IT and sales professionals from ATG customers and partners such as American Eagle Outfitters, AT&T, Handango, Intuit, Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, Vitamin Shoppe and Viking Range.

ATG's research showed that:

  • 96 percent of respondents plan to either maintain or increase their level of investment in e-commerce strategies or tools to strengthen the online experience for customers
  • 4 percent of respondents said they would invest less in e-commerce in order to focus on other marketing and sales channels
  • 48 percent of respondents reported that the slowing U.S. economy would not significantly impact their e-commerce business
  • 22 percent of respondents believed the slowing U.S. economy might have a positive impact on their Web business, resulting in e-commerce growth

The survey of ATG customers underscores recent findings1 from and Forrester Research pointing to their belief that online retail will continue to be a bright spot in the industry with retail sales rising 17 percent this year to $204 billion. ATG-powered sellers cited tools such as automated recommendations technologies and searchandising strategies as important for capturing digital dollars with a focus on building loyalty, since consumers have fewer dollars to spend overall.