Holiday Web Sales Predicted To Rise 13% For November And December

By Christine Kern

Research shows online spending will hit $89 billion for this holiday season, or 14% of all retail spending. According to Forrester Research, holiday online spending will reach $89 billion in November and December, a full 14 percent of overall retail purchases.  This represents a 13 percent growth over holiday season 2013, and a 30 percent share of total eCommerce spend in 2014. It does also represent ”a deceleration in growth due to a shorter holiday selling season and capacity constraints in the package delivery network.” For the last three years, the web sales growth rate had stayed constant at 15 percent, following a growth of 16 percent in 2010. The projected growth is credited to an influx of new online shoppers and the increase in shopping via mobile devices. A similar Holiday Sales forecast study performed by Deloitte also said that non-stores sales should rise between 13.5 and 14 percent, with digital interaction expected to influence half of retail store sales. “While online sales continue to climb, digital customer interactions through both virtual and physical store channels present greater sales opportunities than online or mobile commerce alone,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader, in the press release. “Our research indicates that 84 percent of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store. Additionally, those shoppers convert, or make a purchase, at a 40 percent higher rate than those who do not use such devices during their shopping journey.” According to Deloitte, digital interactions will influence half of the retail store sales this holiday season, worth approximately $345 billion. This figure reflects the extent to which consumers’ use of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones influence brick-and-mortar store sales. “Retailers should focus on the right functionality, rather than more functionality, when creating digital experiences this holiday season,”  Paul noted in the statement.  “Rather than offer their full e-commerce site on a mobile device, for example, retailers may be more effective by helping consumers compare prices, scan through local assortments, and navigate the store. Retailers that better understand how consumers make purchasing decisions, then deliver tools that support that process in a way that is consistent and complementary across online, mobile and store channels — may have the advantage this holiday season.” In all, Deloitte anticipates that total holiday sales will increase 4.0% to 4.5% this year compared with 2013, for total sales of $981 to $986 billion. That would exceed the 2.8% growth rate pegged by Deloitte for the 2013 holiday season—and the 2.7% growth for bricks-and-mortar retailers in November and December last year. Forrester also anticipates some 3.4 million new web shoppers in 2014. “The holiday season is a strong opportunity for new customer acquisition as web browsers are more likely to try e-commerce for the first time now than any other time of the year,” Mulpuru says. Each consumer is also predicted to  spend 10 percent more on average online than they have in the past, according to Forrester. “As consumers become more tenured web shoppers, they buy more in other categories and shift spend away from traditional channels like stores and catalogs to the web.”