Electronic Commerce Will Play Critical Role For Holidays

According to a forecast by Forrester Research, online retail sales in the United States will reach nearly $52 billion this holiday season, a 16% increase over last year’s total.
In a recent Forrester survey of 4,700 online consumers across the U.S., respondents said they would make 37% of their purchases via an Internet channel this holiday season compared with 30% in 2009.
The Forrester report, “U.S. Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2010,” asserted that 87% of online buyers with a household income of $100,000 plus will spend the same or more online this year versus last year while only 13% will spend less.
Mobile commerce also will impact holiday sales, Forrester noted, as 18% of American online adult shoppers plan to use their mobile device to compare prices, and 16% expect to use their phone to locate a nearby store.
In the Shop.org/Forrester Q3 2010 Online Sales Flash Survey, 80% of retailers said their third quarter gross online sales increased year over year, suggesting that gains will continue through the holiday season.
“Online retailers are primed to react to this year’s holiday trends,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research vp and principal analyst. The research firm has concluded that retailers will initiate “aggressive promotional programs to drive holiday sales, exceeding even the discounts of previous years.”
Deep discounts beyond such common incentives as buy one, get one free will emerge, Forrester predicts, adding that key dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be critical to retail fortunes as 2010 closes.
“Retailers must expect heavy price-based competition this season and be prepared to play,” she said.
The predicted growth rate for 2010 doubles the actual 8% growth in 2009. Last year’s relatively modest gain was impacted by the recession, Forrester noted. The research firm defines the holiday shopping season as the months of November and December.