JupiterResearch forecasts that U.S. online retail sales will reach $65 billion in 2004, and will continue to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 17% through 2008 to top $117 billion.

More significantly for web marketers is the projection that by 2008, nearly 30% of offline retail purchases will be influenced by research performed online.

The prediction that even more people will find product information “online” and then buy the product “offline” is consistent with my personal experience. Often I would research a book on Amazon but buy it in the local bookstore. Recently my wife researched futons on websites listed with Froogle but we made the purchase in the store. There are products that will lend themselves easier to ecommerce and there will be those who will always be purchased better offline. What is important to remember that web marketing can influence not only the products sold directly online but also those sold offline but promoted via websites.