Online Retail Sales to Continue Strong Growth in 2015

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Online Retail Sales to Continue Strong Growth in 2015


By Jennifer Acevedo

American consumers’ appetite for online shopping appears as strong as ever, with some retail CFOs predicting as much as 10 percent growth in 2015.

According to a recent survey from New York-based accountancy network BDO USA, retail CFOs forecast an impressive 9.9 percent boost to e-commerce sales this year. About 78 percent of retail CFOs expect their online sales to grow. The U.S. Commerce department reported $304 billion in U.S. online sales in 2014.

The report, “Retail Compass Survey of CFOs,” shares the opinions of 100 chief financial officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. It was conducted in January 2015.

Thirty-seven percent of CFOs surveyed said they planned to achieve growth by expanding their e-commerce and mobile offerings. To keep pace with the growth in mobile specifically, 68 percent of CFOs plan to increase their spending in mobile technologies in 2015, up 28 percent from last year’s survey.

With data security top of mind for shoppers, retailers have followed suit, with more than half of CFOs surveyed (56 percent) reporting they have increased spending on cybersecurity in the past 12 months. Among those, 89 percent are using new software security tools, and 81 percent have developed a security breach response plan.

"Consumers crave speed, selection and the convenience of shopping anywhere and anytime at the touch of a button," says Natalie Kotlyar, partner in the consumer business practice at BDO. "But investing in online and mobile systems is a difficult balancing act. Staying competitive requires retailers to deliver a seamless, engaging experience across channels, while at the same time investing to protect their consumers from the growing threat of cyberattacks."

Other findings include:

• Only 12 percent of CFOs cite Internet sales taxes as their top concern. The Marketplace Fairness Act stalled at the end of last year, and 69 percent of the CFOs surveyed doubt it will have any impact on their business. 

• Many CFOs (34 percent) are most concerned with corporate federal income taxes. Even with the challenges of implementing the Affordable Care Act, only 25 percent of CFOs cited payroll-related taxes as their top concern. 

For more information on the report, please visit BDO online.