Walmart Shares Healthy Predictions for E-commerce Growth

US retail conglomerate, Walmart, is expecting e-commerce sales to grow this year and – for the first time ever – it has publicly released the details of the substantial figures.

Walmart, who currently ranks fourth position in the Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, forecasts it will generate $9 billion in online retail sales by January, 2014. This is up from previously estimated e-commerce sales of $4.9 billion in 2011, and $4.1 billion in 2010.

Following the announcement, Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke said, “our momentum in delivering strong results continues, and we are investing for the future by creating an even stronger business.”

“We will continue to expand our physical presence through a variety of formats across our markets, while also investing in initiatives to enhance our operational excellence and further new e-commerce opportunities,” Duke added.

Those e-commerce opportunities include large plans for global expansion, including a number of acquisitions. Only recently, Walmart revealed its intention to bolster its marginal investment in the mass merchant pureplay retailer, Yihaodian, to 51 percent after receiving authorisation from the Chinese government.

In addition to increasing its presence in China, Walmart has also indicated it will be investing more heavily in the United Kingdom and Brazil, which both represent enormous potential for online retail sales. President and CEO of Walmart Global E-commerce Neil Ashe confirmed this last week.

“Our goal is to provide seamless access to customers worldwide,” said Ashe. “We will continue to innovate in ways that will allow us to expand our global platform and strengthen our infrastructure and local fulfilment networks, while taking advantage of transformational mobile capabilities.”

Ashe also said that while one-third of the world population is now online, 37 percent of the global online population are researching products daily and 48 percent use social media to influence their purchase decisions.

Currently, more than 200 million Walmart customers visit some 10,300 stores in 27 countries and e-commerce-enabled websites in 10 countries, every single week.

While Walmart’s e-commerce channel continues to grow in leaps and bounds, it still only makes up a relatively a small division of the company. Walmart transacted nearly $444 billion in total retail sales in the fiscal year to September 2012.


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