* U.S. e-commerce to hit $370 billion by 2017-report
* Smartphone, tablet adoption fuel the surge
By Phil Wahba
March 13 U.S. online retail sales will grow
about 10 percent each year between now and 2017, as more people
use mobile devices and top chains build up their infrastructure,
Forrester Research said in its annual forecast on Wednesday.
By 2017, U.S. online retail sales should reach $370 billion,
compared with $262 billion this year, according to Forrester.
The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets will help fuel
that surge, a Forrester analyst said.
"The increased penetration of web-enabled mobile devices
boosts the amount of time consumers spend online," said
Sucharita Mulpuru, the Forrester analyst who wrote the report.
Brick-and-mortar chains that have made their e-commerce
capacity a top priority are reaping the benefits of those
investments, Forrester said.
Nordstrom Inc said last month that 20 percent of
e-commerce sales came from mobile devices in 2012, compared with
4 percent two years earlier. Nordstrom was one of the first
major retailers to have an "app" on Apple Inc's iPad.
Nordstrom is set to invest nearly $1 billion over the next
five years on its e-commerce capacity.
Macy's Inc's online sales climbed 41 percent last
year, helped in part by its use of nearly 300 stores to help
fill orders online during the holiday season. The process
required an expensive integration of Macy's inventory systems.
The department store chain expects to be able to use about
500 of its fleet of about 800 stores to support its e-commerce
by the autumn, and ultimately 650, Macy's Chief Financial
Officer Karen Hoguet said at a conference on Wednesday.
Loyalty programs like Amazon.com Inc's Prime
program, which offers free shipping for a subscription fee, are
also spurring more online business, Forrester said.