E-Commerce Retailers: Holidays May Propel $68B In Sales

HolidayShoppingWeb- and mobile-ready retailers can expect an upbeat holiday shopping season, new research suggests.
In line with other estimates, Forrester predicts the coming holidays will generate $68.4 billion in domestic online sales -- a 15% increase year-over-year, and three percentage points higher than the expected overall annual online retail growth rate.
“This optimism is largely due to ever-increasing numbers of consumers choosing the Web over physical stores and the rise in mobile commerce,” according to Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester analyst and lead author of the ecommerce report.
Given a less-than-robust economy, consumers continue to be price-conscious and will use the Web to search for money-saving offers, like exclusive deals and free shipping -- especially on key holiday dates, Mulpuru predicts. As such, to succeed this season, retailers need to compete on more than just price.
“While price is critical, retail eBusiness executives must look to add value elsewhere in the customer purchase funnel to retain customers,” Mulpuru explains. “Ensuring that critical content is available (and tested) on mobile devices will be imperative this holiday season, as consumers will continue to use mobile devices for product research and even for buying.”
By Forrester’s estimate, the average U.S. shopper will spend $419 online, this holiday season -- a 12% boost over last year. When it comes to mobile device owners, 18% now make purchases via smartphone, while 24% report having purchased a product in the past month on their tablets.
Those numbers will only increase as more than 135 million U.S. adults are expected to own a smartphone -- and more than 60 million will own a tablet -- by the end of the year.
According to Mulpuru, the value of mobile extends far beyond the transaction, as consumers more frequently use those devices to research products.
“The mobile and tablet shopping trend tends to be amplified during the holidays as consumers spend more time shopping online with remote devices at home, in stores and on the go,” Mulpuru said.
Across platforms, 56% of U.S. online adults tell Forrester they are more price-conscious than they were a year ago, while 57% agree they find better deals and value online -- up nine percentage points from last year.

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