Online Holiday Sales Forecast:
Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales
Copyright ©2011 eMarketer, Inc. All rights reserved.
The eMarketer View
Key eMarketer Numbers—US Online Holiday SalesForecast
Retail ecommerce sales (billions)Retail ecommerce sales growth (% change)$39.9$46.7Holiday season*17.4%16.8%Holiday season*Full year$167.3
Note: excludes online travel, event tickets and digital download sales;*sales are for Nov and Dec of each year Source: eMarketer, Nov 2011; (1) US Department of Commerce, Aug 2011
Online Holiday Season Sales Dened
eMarketer, like the National Retail Federation (NRF),denes the holiday season as November and December.Holidays in this period include Thanksgiving, Christmas,Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. To be clear, holiday seasonsales reer to all retail spending—purchases eitherrelated or unrelated to these holidays. So, or example,purchases o groceries and other essential goods areincluded. This inclusion o both kinds o purchases isa practical consideration because o the diculty o separating one type o purchase rom the other.
Online holiday sales growth will come at the expense o in-store sales
. Online holiday sales are expected to grow 16.8%compared with last year’s sales, while total retail sales (onlineand ofine) are orecast to increase by only 3% this holidayseason. This disparity is a result o consumers moving purchasedollars rom physical stores to the web. This trend was seen ina pre-holiday Nielsen survey that ound while only 5% o onlineconsumers planned to spend more dollars on holiday gits in2011 compared to a year ago, two to three times as many o these consumers planned to increase their holiday spending onthe internet this year compared to last year.
Online holiday shopping has become mainstream.
Nearly hal o all online consumers are expected to buy gitson the internet this holiday season. Consumers across allincome levels will seek the convenience and money-savingopportunities o online shopping. In all likelihood, onlineholiday shoppers will purchase more gits on the internet thanin clothing, home electronics or toy stores.
The internet is especially well suited or holiday gitbuying.
In 2010, online holiday season sales accounted or7.4% o total retail sales—a rate that will likely exceed 8%in 2011. But when purchases unrelated to the holidays arestripped out, the share o online holiday season sales risesconsiderable. In pre-holiday surveys consumers said theywould spend around 33% o their git dollars on the internetthis year. This reveals how the internet has become anindispensable tool or comparing prices, discovering git ideasand nding popular items that are out o stock in local stores.
Many consumers are planning to buy online to avoidcrowded stores.
Tired o the renzied ritual o in-storeholiday shopping—particularly Black Friday “door-buster”deals—consumers are choosing to do more git buying online.Retailers are responding with online deals that meet or beattheir in-store oers. Moreover, retailers are posting theironline Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day. As a result,the traditionally amily-centered holiday has turned into amajor online shopping event. Last year, ecommerce saleson Thanksgiving Day grew by 28% over the previous year,according to comScore.
Afuent consumers uel online holiday sales growth.
Upscale consumers are avid and sophisticated online deal-seekers,as evidenced by their use o digital coupons, social media andBlack Friday sites. Higher-income consumers are more involvedwith online holiday shopping than lower-income shoppers onseveral counts: They are more likely to make holiday purchasesonline and spend a greater share o their total git budget withweb retailers.
Smartphones and tablets are boosting holidayecommerce sales.
Mobile devices create opportunitiesto divert what might have been an in-store purchase intoan online sale. For example, when consumers use theirsmartphones to look up inormation about a product whilein a store, they oten end up buying it online rom anotherretailer. And one o the main reasons consumers use tabletsor holiday shopping is to avoid crowded stores.