Armed with smartphones and a hunger for whatever turns out to be this year’s Rainbow Loom or Emoji sweatpants, Forrester Research expects that Americans will spend $95.5 billion online this holiday season, a jump of 11%. And while ecommerce accounted for about 10% of all sales for most of the year, the research firm expects that share to rise to 14% for the months of November and December.
That’s a significantly bigger increase than the 6% to 8% increase in ecommerce predicted by the National Retail Federation.
It also reports a growing disenchantment with Black Friday, based on tracking comments in social media, while Cyber Monday seems to be gaining popularity.
Much of the growth is likely to come from mobile. “Mobile commerce sales are growing faster than ever,” writes analyst Sucharita Mulpuru in the forecast. “Retailers reported that they saw 87% growth in sales via mobile phone in 2014 over 2013. We expect that momentum to continue through 2015 and in particular during the holiday season, when time-sensitive offers abound.”
It expects sales in physical stores to rise less than 4%.
Email will continue to be the most popular marketing tool, with consumers learning more about special offers via email than any other method, including search. Last year, she writes that 42% of online shoppers said they found deals from retailers’ emails, during Thanksgiving weekend, compared with 8% who found them through a deals website.
And whatever the season’s hot items turn out to be, she predicts that “blockbuster dominance” will continue to drive sales. “Nearly three-quarters of online revenue during the holidays comes from 1% of products,” she says.
Cyber Monday is expected to be even bigger than last year’s $2.5 billion, “given that consumers had fewer negative associations with Cyber Monday than with Black Friday and nearly as many positive mentions in 2014.”
But that doesn’t mean people aren’t still going to be avidly seeking out bargains all Thanksgiving weekend. “While some merchants may speculate that the holidays are too promotional, shoppers can’t seem to get enough deals. Consumers continue to say they love shopping for holiday deals and very few say they experience deal overload.”