Forrester expects digital to influence 58% of retail sales by 2023 thanks in large part to the growing role that smartphones are playing in shoppers' lives.

Computers and smartphones will play a role in more than half of U.S. retail sales this year, according to a new report by Forrester Research Inc.

The consultancy arrives at that percentage by assuming that e-commerce will account for 15% of retail sales this year and digital will influence 36% of offline sales.

Digital’s influence stands to grow, writes Satish Meena, a Forrester senior forecast analyst, in the report. He expects digital to influence 58% of retail sales by 2023 thanks in large part to the growing role that smartphones are playing in shoppers’ lives. “Although online retail via smartphones accounts for only one-third of online retail sales, smartphones’ impact on retail sales is massive,” the report says. That’s because roughly 88% of U.S. online adults use a smartphone, 45% use a smartphone at least once a month to research products before making a purchase and 28% use a smartphone at least once a month to purchase physical products.

Smartphones are expected to drive $118 billion in direct retail sales in the United States this year, the report says, but will influence $1.1 trillion in sales. By 2023, Forrester expects smartphones to influence $1.4 trillion in sales.

The report notes that online retail sales and digital-influenced retail sales are inversely correlated; as consumers do more of their shopping online, those e-commerce sales will cannibalize the offline sales influenced by online research.

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Online marketplaces, and Amazon.com Inc. in particular, play a significant role in influencing consumers’ purchase decisions. The report notes that online marketplaces will influence $393.1 billion in offline sales this year. That’s more than than any other channel.

That’s in line with other research. For example, Internet Retailer earlier this year found that 59% of consumers choose Amazon as the first e-commerce site or app they turn to when looking to purchase an item. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500.

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