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New research from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says that "even though more than three-quarters of Americans, ranging in age from 15 to 85, have bought something from in the last year, the overall move to online shopping is expected to slow considerably over the next three years, according to a BCG survey of more than 3,300 Americans completed this month."

"In 41 categories, from athletic apparel and pet supplies to insurance products and consumer electronics, the vast majority of Americans surveyed -- 78% to 92%, depending on the category -- said they don't plan to increase their online spending over the next three years. And in many categories -- including baby products and food, beverages, fine jewelry, news and magazines, cars and packages goods -- more than a quarter of those already shopping online said they will spend less online in the future ... The few categories in which the most respondents said they'll spend more online over the next three years include airline tickets (20% of Americans), hotel reservations (20%), entertainment tickets and reservations (22%), reflecting potential sales growth in experiential consumption as opposed to products."

"In other words, more than twice as many people say they'll spend less online over the next three years than those who say they'll spend more online. Strikingly, the intention to keep online shopping at current levels and slow down in many categories is virtually identical among Millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers."
KC's View:
They could be right. They could be wrong. I would suggest that the accuracy of these predictions is about the same as it would be if you flipped a coin and predicted whether it would come up heads or tails.

In fact, probably less so.

I would argue that most of the people the consultants interviewed probably have no idea what they're going to have for lunch today, much less how much they are going to spend online over the next three years. They may spend the same or less, but that to a great degree will depend on a lot of factors that these consumers - and the folks at BCG - cannot control or even foresee. At the most extreme level, will the levels of domestic terrorism in the US increase to the point where people simply don't want to go out to shop?

The degree to which bricks-and-mortar retailers adapt to be relevant to shoppers, and market that relevance, and the extent to which companies like Amazon are able to make their ecosystems more robust and relevant are has to be considered.

Tradition, physical retailers may find the BCG study reassuring and comforting. But I'd suggest that it also could lull them into a false sense of security and complacency that could put undifferentiated business models at risk for significant disruption.