November 2011

Online Holiday Sales Forecast:
Jeffrey Grau jgrau@emarketer.com
Contributors Krista Garcia

Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

Executive Summary: US retail ecommerce holiday sales (excluding travel) will reach $46.7 billion in 2011, up 16.8% over 2010. By comparison, total retail sales will see meager growth of about 3%. Online holiday sales will be driven by consumers who allocate a larger share of their gift spending to the internet to find savings and to take advantage of ecommerce’s greater convenience.
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US Retail Ecommerce Holiday Season Sales, 2006-2011 billions and % change
$46.7 $39.9 $31.6 $26.4 19.4% $34.0 $29.1

The two drivers of holiday ecommerce sales growth continue to be more online buyers and greater spending per online buyer. This year, higher-income consumers will lead the charge online. Their online purchasing will rival or surpass what they spend in other venues, like department stores, apparel stores and home electronics stores. Online holiday sales will also get a boost from smartphone and tablet users. Some plan to use their mobile devices for holiday purchases. Others will use them in-store for product research and price comparison, which in turn often leads to online sales. Key Questions

16.9%

17.4%

16.8%

2006

2007

2008 -7.8%

2009

2010

2011

■■ What

is the outlook for online holiday sales this year compared with recent years? are the mind-sets of consumers and retailers this holiday season? will ecommerce sales grow at a higher rate than total retail sales?

Retail ecommerce sales

% change

■■ What

Note: sales are for Nov and Dec of each year; excludes online travel, event ticket and digital download sales Source: eMarketer, Nov 2011
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■■ Why

The eMarketer View Retail Holiday Sales Outlook Drivers of Online Sales Conclusions Related eMarketer Reports Related Links About eMarketer

2 3 6 10 11 11 11

Digital Intelligence

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The eMarketer View
Key eMarketer Numbers—US Online Holiday Sales Forecast
Retail ecommerce sales (billions) Holiday season* Full year $167.3 (1) $195.0

Online holiday shopping has become mainstream. Nearly half of all online consumers are expected to buy gifts on the internet this holiday season. Consumers across all income levels will seek the convenience and money-saving opportunities of online shopping. In all likelihood, online holiday shoppers will purchase more gifts on the internet than in clothing, home electronics or toy stores. The internet is especially well suited for holiday gift buying. In 2010, online holiday season sales accounted for 7.4% of total retail sales—a rate that will likely exceed 8% in 2011. But when purchases unrelated to the holidays are stripped out, the share of online holiday season sales rises considerable. In pre-holiday surveys consumers said they would spend around 33% of their gift dollars on the internet this year. This reveals how the internet has become an indispensable tool for comparing prices, discovering gift ideas and finding popular items that are out of stock in local stores. Many consumers are planning to buy online to avoid crowded stores. Tired of the frenzied ritual of in-store holiday shopping—particularly Black Friday “door-buster” deals—consumers are choosing to do more gift buying online. Retailers are responding with online deals that meet or beat their in-store offers. Moreover, retailers are posting their online Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day. As a result, the traditionally family-centered holiday has turned into a major online shopping event. Last year, ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving Day grew by 28% over the previous year, according to comScore. Affluent consumers fuel online holiday sales growth. Upscale consumers are avid and sophisticated online deal-seekers, as evidenced by their use of digital coupons, social media and Black Friday sites. Higher-income consumers are more involved with online holiday shopping than lower-income shoppers on several counts: They are more likely to make holiday purchases online and spend a greater share of their total gift budget with web retailers. Smartphones and tablets are boosting holiday ecommerce sales. Mobile devices create opportunities to divert what might have been an in-store purchase into an online sale. For example, when consumers use their smartphones to look up information about a product while in a store, they often end up buying it online from another retailer. And one of the main reasons consumers use tablets for holiday shopping is to avoid crowded stores.

$39.9

$46.7

2010 Holiday season* 17.4%

2011

2010 Full year

2011

Retail ecommerce sales growth (% change)

16.8%

15.2% (1)

16.5%

2010

2011

2010

2011

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
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Online Holiday Season Sales Defined
eMarketer, like the National Retail Federation (NRF), defines the holiday season as November and December. Holidays in this period include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. To be clear, holiday season sales refer to all retail spending—purchases either related or unrelated to these holidays. So, for example, purchases of groceries and other essential goods are included. This inclusion of both kinds of purchases is a practical consideration because of the difficulty of separating one type of purchase from the other.

Online holiday sales growth will come at the expense of in-store sales. Online holiday sales are expected to grow 16.8% compared with last year’s sales, while total retail sales (online and offline) are forecast to increase by only 3% this holiday season. This disparity is a result of consumers moving purchase dollars from physical stores to the web. This trend was seen in a pre-holiday Nielsen survey that found while only 5% of online consumers planned to spend more dollars on holiday gifts in 2011 compared to a year ago, two to three times as many of these consumers planned to increase their holiday spending on the internet this year compared to last year.

Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Retail Holiday Sales Outlook
Consumers are expected to hold back on holiday spending this year because of rising food, gas and utility prices as well as concerns about the economy. Several pre-holiday surveys confirmed shoppers’ intentions to spend either the same or less on purchases during the 2011 holiday vs. last year. No more than 12% of online consumers said they expected to increase their holiday spending this year.
Comparative Estimates: Change in Planned Holiday Spending Among US Internet Users, 2011 vs. 2010 % of respondents
More Same Less Too early to know Accenture, Sep 2011 Deloitte, Oct 2011 Kantar Retail*, Aug 2011 BIGinsight, Sep 2011 12% 10% 9% 6% 66% 49% 50% 32% 22% 42% 35% 39% 23% Do not buy holiday gifts 6% -

This is a sharp drop from last season’s 5.2% growth rate as estimated by the National Retail Federation, based on US Department of Commerce data. Pent-up demand and weak 2009 holiday sales contributed to the strong performance last holiday season. Still, the NRF’s 2.8% forecast rate is slightly higher than the organization’s 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6%.
US Holiday Sales Growth, 2006-2011 % change
5.2% 3.1% 1.8% 2.8%

2006

2007

2008

2009

-0.4%

2010

2011*

-4.4% Note: *forecast Source: National Retail Federation (NRF) derived from US Department of Commerce data, Oct 6, 2011
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Nielsen, Sep 2011 5% 48% 36% 10%** Note: numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding; *among consumers; **or undecided Source: various, as noted, 2011
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It is no surprise then that leading retail research and trade organizations are predicting retail industry sales will grow at a modest 2.5% to 3.5% rate this holiday season.
Comparative Estimates: US Holiday Season Retail Sales Growth, 2011 % change vs. prior year
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Sep 2011 3.5% ShopperTrak, Sep 2011 Deloitte*, Sep 2011 Kantar Retail**, Sep 2011 NRF, Oct 2011 2.5%-3.0% 2.8% 2.8% 3.0%

Online Holiday Sales Forecast Against this backdrop, online holiday sales (excluding travel) will rise 16.8% this year—six times higher than total industry growth—to reach $46.7 billion. This marks three years of strong online holiday sales and demonstrates the web’s ability to help consumers achieve their holiday gift buying goals in a weak economy.
US Retail Ecommerce Holiday Season Sales, 2006-2011 billions and % change
$46.7 $39.9 $31.6 $26.4 19.4% $34.0 $29.1

Note: sales are for Nov and Dec unless otherwise stated and exclude automotive dealers, gas stations and restaurants; *sales are for Nov-Jan; **sales are for Oct-Dec Source: various, as noted, 2011
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16.9%

17.4%

16.8%

2006

2007

2008 -7.8%

2009

2010

2011

Retail ecommerce sales

% change

Note: sales are for Nov and Dec of each year; excludes online travel, event ticket and digital download sales Source: eMarketer, Nov 2011
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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Retail Holiday Sales Outlook

Strong online holiday spending, in turn, will boost ecommerce sales to $195 billion for the year, up 16.5% over 2010. Online holiday sales will account for almost a quarter (23.9%) of online sales in 2011, underlining the importance that November and December have on many retailers’ annual ecommerce sales.
US Retail Ecommerce Sales, 2006-2011 billions and % change
$195.0 $167.3 $138.1 $114.9 23.8% 20.2% 15.2% 3.0% 16.5% $142.3 $145.2

Note: These single-digit rates apply to all online purchases that occur in November and December. When only holiday purchases are considered, ecommerce’s share is expected to be over one-third of total retail sales for November and December. eMarketer’s prediction of 16.8% online holiday sales growth is bullish compared to the forecasts from Deloitte and Kantar Retail, but this is largely due to differences in definitions.
Comparative Estimates: US Retail Ecommerce Holiday Season Sales Growth, 2011 % change vs. prior year
eMarketer*, Nov 2011 Deloitte**, Sep 2011 Kantar Retail***, Sep 2011 16.8% 14.0% 13.5%

Note: *sales are for Nov and Dec of each year; excludes online travel, event ticket and digital download sales; **non-store sales for Nov-Jan with nearly 3/4 coming from the online channel; ***sales are for Oct-Dec Source: eMarketer, Nov 2011; various, as noted, Sep 2011
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2.1%

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2006

2007

2008

2009 % change

2010

2011(1)

Retail ecommerce sales

Note: excludes online travel, event ticket and digital download sales Source: US Department of Commerce, Aug 2011; (1) eMarketer, Nov 2011
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As a result of strong growth, ecommerce’s share of total retail sales is gradually increasing, with the biggest gains taking place during the holiday season. In 2010, ecommerce accounted for 5.7% of sales from January through October, but jumped to 7.4% for the holiday season.
US Retail Ecommerce Sales as a Percent of Total Retail Sales, 2006-2010
7.4% 6.7% 6.0%

Kantar’s holiday forecast is for Q4 2011 and therefore includes October, which comes before the surge in holiday sales. Meanwhile, Deloitte defines the holiday season as November through January. By the second half of January much of the residual holiday spending has tapered off. Deloitte also lumps catalog and interactive TV sales with ecommerce in its non-stores category. While ecommerce sales represent nearly 75% of non-store sales, according to Deloitte, catalog sales—a large part of the remaining 25%—are likely to be growing at a slower rate, therefore decreasing the total forecast. Definitions aside, eMarketer’s forecast also factors in that ecommerce has been insulated from the lingering effects of the recession and has even benefitted from price-conscious consumers’ reliance on the internet to save money. eMarketer’s forecast is supported by Shop.org’s eHoliday survey of 51 retailers, conducted from September 22 to October 14, 2011. Some 68% of respondents expected their company’s online holiday sales to grow at least 15% in 2011 compared to last year. Furthermore, FedEx said in October 2011 that SmartPost, its residential shipping service designed for online and catalog retailers, would have holiday volume growth of more than 30% above last year.

5.8% 5.2%

5.7%

5.1% 4.8% 4.1% 2006 Jan-Oct 2007

5.0%

2008

2009

2010

Holiday season (Nov-Dec)

Note: retail ecommerce excludes online travel, event ticket and digital download sales; total retail excludes auto dealers, gas stations and fuel dealers Source: US Department of Commerce, Aug 2011; eMarketer calculations, Nov 2011
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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Retail Holiday Sales Outlook

Experts’ Predictions In publishing their forecasts, retail experts addressed the issues affecting their consumer spending outlooks leading into the holiday shopping season as well as some of the strategies retailers need to deploy to cope with the challenging environment. National Retail Federation The principal US retail trade association’s 2011 forecast of 2.8% growth—on volume of $465.6 billion—is well below the 5.2% rise last year. The NRF assumes an optimistic tone by noting several economic indicators pointing to a solid holiday season—including 14 months of retail sales growth and a substantial reduction in household debt. Nevertheless, continued uncertainty over the stock market, higher gas and food prices, and sputtering job growth will dampen spending this holiday season, the NRF has predicted. Furthermore, the strong 2010 holiday season, which outperformed most analysts’ expectations, sets a higher base for growth this year. The trade group added that retailers will count on strong promotions and lean inventory levels to help them overcome consumer caution this holiday season.

“Retailers need to be nimble enough to quickly adapt and adjust their inventory, assortment, pricing and promotional strategies when consumer demand fluctuates.”—Alison Paul, vice
chairman and US retail & distribution sector leader at Deloitte, in a press release, September 2011
Deloitte said double-digit growth in non-store channels was giving the retail industry a major boost and suggested multichannel retailers that successfully use their online channel to augment the in-store shopping experience will have the advantage. Store associates also have an important role to play in converting shoppers into buyers and upselling. This requires that they be well versed on the latest products, promotions, pricing and competitor offerings that consumers receive through online and mobile channels.

“While businesses remain concerned over the viability of the economic recovery, there is no doubt that the retail industry is in a better position this year to handle consumer uncertainty than it was in 2008 and 2009.”—Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the
NRF, in a press release, October 2011
Deloitte Holiday sales will reach between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5% to 3.0% increase in the November 2011 to January 2012 holiday season, Deloitte predicted. Alison Paul, vice chairman and US retail and distribution sector leader at the firm, noted that while economic events could depress consumer spending this season, businesses are already operating at lean and efficient inventory levels. However, Paul advised retailers to be prepared with contingency plans.

“The brick-and-mortar store is still central to the shopper experience. Retailers that integrate the power of the sensory experience in-store with relevant, timely information via their websites and mobile applications are well-positioned to lead the way this holiday season.”—Alison Paul,
vice chairman and US retail & distribution sector leader at Deloitte, in a press release, September 2011
Kantar Retail Declining consumer confidence will reduce store sales to a modest 2.8% growth rate in the Q4 2011 holiday period, predicted research and consulting firm Kantar Retail, as reported by Internet Retailer. The strongest growth will come from dollar stores and jewelry stores. In contrast, sales will be weak at home furnishings and consumer electronics stores.

“The probability is high that this [declining consumer confidence] will lead to another recession unless some positive shock— such as government stimulus—keeps the period of heightened uncertainty short and quickly starts to lift consumer and business confidence.”—Frank Badillo, senior economist at Kantar
Retail, quoted in Internet Retailer, September 2011

Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Retail Holiday Sales Outlook

ShopperTrak Retail sales will rise 3.0% but foot traffic in stores will decrease 2.2% during the 2011 holiday season compared with last year, said ShopperTrak, a provider of retail foot traffic counting, managed services and business analytics. So far this year, shoppers have visited an average of 3.1 stores per shopping trip, down from 3.19 in 2010 and far less than the four to five stores visited in early 2008, at the onset of the recession. As the number of in-store shoppers declines, converting shoppers into buyers has never been more important. ShopperTrak attributed reduced foot traffic to shoppers increasingly using the internet to research purchases so that when they do walk into stores, they have a purchasing strategy in place and are less likely to browse.

Drivers of Online Sales
Strong holiday ecommerce sales stem from more consumers buying online and greater spending per online buyer. Leading the charge will be higher-income consumers, who have embraced ecommerce and spend a significant share of their total gift budget on retail sites. But mobile shoppers will also propel holiday ecommerce sales, especially those who use their smartphones in-store to compare prices and products at other retailers.
More Online Buyers An annual holiday survey by BIGresearch conducted for the NRF tracks the increase in online buyers. The percentage of online consumers who said they planned to make holiday purchases online grew from 38.3% in 2004 to 46.7% in 2011.
US Internet Users Who Plan to Make Holiday Purchases Online, 2004-2011 % of respondents
47.1% 42.6% 38.3% 44.3% 44.2% 42.4% 43.9% 46.7%

“The persistently high unemployment and fuel rates, along with consumers’ conservative purchasing attitudes, will affect spending this holiday season more than in recent years. Every shopper in a store will be more valuable than last year, and retail stores should be ready to convert their holiday shoppers into sales.”
—Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, in a press release, September 2011

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Note: ages 18+ Source: National Retail Federation (NRF), "2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" conducted by BIGresearch, Oct 19, 2011
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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Drivers of Online Sales

When sliced by income, the BIGresearch data revealed that 57.5% of online consumers with household income of $50,000 or more will shop online this holiday season, compared with 42.6% of consumers with incomes below $50,000.
Locations Where US Internet Users Plan to Make Holiday Purchases, by Household Income, Oct 2011 % of respondents
<$50K Discount store Department store Grocery store/supermarket Internet Clothing or accessories store Electronics store Drugstore Crafts or fabrics store Thrift stores/resale shops Other specialty store Catalog Other 70.6% 54.5% 50.3% 42.6% 32.5% 28.0% 20.7% 17.5% 15.4% 14.0% 13.5% 5.0% $50K+ 68.4% 65.5% 53.8% 57.5% 41.5% 39.3% 24.6% 19.8% 8.5% 21.9% 17.2% 3.6%

Locations Where US Internet Users Expect to Shop During the Holiday Season % of respondents
Discount/value department stores 48% Internet (including auction sites) 48% Traditional department stores 23% Electronics/office supply/computer stores 22% Outlet stores/centers 20% Toy stores 19% Off-price stores 18% Warehouse membership clubs 17% Restaurants/fast food establishments 14% Low-price dollar stores 14% Home improvement stores 12% Sporting goods stores 12% Source: Deloitte, "2011 Annual Holiday Survey: What will fetch consumer spending this season?" Oct 2011
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Note: ages 18+ Source: National Retail Federation (NRF), "2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" conducted by BIGresearch, Oct 19, 2011
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A September 2011 Deloitte survey further revealed a strong preference for online holiday shopping over almost all other venues. Some 48% of online consumers expected to do holiday shopping online—tied with discount and value department stores, and far ahead of traditional department stores and other popular retail destinations.

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The main incentives for shopping online were convenience and savings, according to a September 2011 SymphonyIRI survey of US consumers who planned to shop online for holiday gifts. The conveniences of shopping day or night, saving time and avoiding crowds topped the list. The savings came from finding lower prices as well as by cutting gas usage.
Reasons US Consumers Plan to Shop Online for Holiday Gifts, Sep 2011 % of respondents
Shop 24 hours a day Save time Avoid crowds Comparison shopping Low prices Save gas Selection Better sales/promos 60% 60% 59% 57% 70% 85% 79% 79%

Source: SymphonyIRI Group, "Holiday Shopping 2011," Oct 18, 2011
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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Drivers of Online Sales

Greater Spending per Online Buyer The BIGresearch survey also revealed that online holiday shoppers have been increasing the amount they planned to spend online. This year online consumers expected to spend an average of 36% of their holiday budget online, compared to 32.7% last year.
Percent of Holiday Shopping US Internet Users Plan to Do Online, 2006-2011
33.6% 28.9% 30.2% 31.1% 36.0% 32.7%

Locations Where US Internet Users Plan to Spend More* for Holiday Gifts, by Household Income, Sep 2011 % of respondents
<$50K Dollar stores Internet Supercenters Mass merchandise/discount stores Grocery stores Club stores Toy stores Bookstores Consumer electronics stores Department stores Convenience stores/gas stations Home improvement stores Pet stores Liquor stores Drugstores Office supply stores 12% 10% 7% 6% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 4% 3% 3% 2% 2% 1% $100K+ 7% 17% 5% 6% 5% 8% 6% 5% 5% 4% 3% 4% 3% 3% 1% 1%

Note: *vs. last year Source: Nielsen, "Homescan Survey" as cited in "Nielsen State of the Consumer: 2011 Consumer Holiday Shopping Expectations," Sep 22, 2011 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
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Note: ages 18+ Source: National Retail Federation (NRF), "2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" conducted by BIGresearch, Oct 19, 2011
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Since consumers are holding the line on their holiday budgets, higher spending online means lower spending in other channels. Nielsen’s survey illustrates this point. While only 5% of online consumers planned to spend more on holiday shopping this year, over three times as many higher-income shoppers (household income of at least $100,000) and twice as many lower-income shoppers (household income of $50,000 or less) planned to spend more online this holiday season compared to last year.

The share of total dollars consumers will spend online is a function of household income. BIGresearch found that 25% of respondents with annual household income of $50,000 or above planned to spend a majority of their holiday shopping dollars online, compared with 16.9% of those with income below $50,000.
Percent of Holiday Shopping US Internet Users Plan to Do Online, by Household Income, Oct 2011 % of respondents
<$50K None 1%-10% 11%-25% 26%-50% 51%-75% 76%-99% 100% 22.4% 18.9% 20.1% 21.5% 11.1% 3.9% 1.9% $50K+ 11.3% 13.2% 22.2% 28.3% 17.5% 6.2% 1.3%

Source: National Retail Federation (NRF), "2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" conducted by BIGresearch, Oct 19, 2011
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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Drivers of Online Sales

Similarly, Deloitte found that online holiday spending skewed toward affluent consumers. Respondents with household income of $100,000 or above intended to spend an average of 39.6% of their total dollars online, vs. an average of 31.3% for shoppers with income below $100,000. Also, internet spending no longer skews toward the youngest consumers. Deloitte revealed online consumers ages 25 to 44 expected to spend the largest share of total holiday dollars online.
Amount of Holiday Shopping US Internet Users Plan to do Online, by Age and Income, Sep 2011 % of respondents
Age 18-24 22% 25-34 19% 35-44 22% 45-54 25% 55+ 33% Income <$100K 28% $100K+ 13% Total 25% None 1%-25% 28% 26%-50% 24% 12% 11% 75%+ 28% 23% 11% 10% 29% 21% 9% 8% 27% 25% 12% 11% 27% 25% 14% 12% 26% 26% 16% 14% 32% 25% 9% 11%

Reasons US Internet Users Will Spend More Online During the 2011 Holiday Season vs. 2010 % of respondents
Convenience 73% Find better prices 63% Can compare prices easier 54% Better selection 48% More free shipping offers 48% To save on gas 42% Have better technology to online shop 22% Source: Deloitte, "2011 Annual Holiday Survey: What will fetch consumer spending this season?" Oct 2011
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Mobile Shoppers Will Boost Holiday Ecommerce Sales Mobile shopping will spur consumers to buy online and increase their internet spending during the 2011 holiday season. An August 2011 PayPal and Ipsos survey revealed close to half (46%) of smartphone and tablet users planned to make online purchases this holiday season via their mobile device.
US Smartphone and Tablet Users Who Plan to Make Holiday Purchases via Mobile Device This Year, Aug 2011 % of respondents

30%

30%

14%

13%

51%-75%

Note: numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding Source: Deloitte, "2011 Annual Holiday Survey: What will fetch consumer spending this season?" Oct 2011
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The reasons for spending more online are the same ones that attract new holiday shoppers to ecommerce: convenience and savings. Deloitte reported 73% of online holiday shoppers were motivated by convenience and 63% by the prospect of finding better prices.
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No 54%

Yes 46%

Source: PayPal and Ipsos survey as cited in company blog, Sep 26, 2011
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Significant mobile shopping figures were also reported by BIGresearch. Its survey revealed 14.1% of smartphone users and 34.8% of tablet users planned to use their devices to make holiday purchases this year. Mobile buying will be most prevalent among males, users ages 25 to 34 and consumers with household income of $50,000 or above.

Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Drivers of Online Sales

Some mobile purchases are likely to replace in-store purchases. Accenture found 40% of smartphone owners and 44% of tablet owners said they would use their device during the holiday season to avoid crowded stores. And 40% of respondents said it will be more convenient to use their tablet than traditional holiday shopping methods.
Reasons US Internet Users* Would Holiday Shop Using Their Mobile Device, Sep 2011 % of respondents
Mobile phone or smartphone Compare prices while in a store Better discounts/deals Can stay out of crowded stores Receive alerts when products are in store/stock Receive mobile text reminders of sales More convenient to use than traditional shopping methods Heard or read positive things and want to try it The technology has significantly improved Easier to view and shop compared to a smartphone 54% 43% 40% 32% 28% 27% 14% 13% Tablet 35% 36% 44% 40% 21% 14% 26%

Conclusions
While consumers are increasingly dependent on the internet to meet their holiday shopping objectives, ecommerce still has much room for growth.
A weak economy plays on ecommerce’s strengths. Ecommerce is not immune to economic downturns, but it is more insulated than the overall retail industry. Price-sensitive consumers view online shopping as a way to find better prices and reduce gas expenses. Many of them plan to increase their holiday purchases online. But even shoppers who intend to buy in-store after doing online research may ultimately purchase from retail sites that offers better deals. Ecommerce has strong growth potential. While the percentage of adult internet users who expect to make holiday purchases online has increased over the years, the penetration rate is still below 50%, according to BIGresearch. That means the majority of online consumers have no plans to make purchases on the internet this holiday season. Even among people who do buy online, opportunities exist to get them to buy more. Online consumers are expected to spend one-third of their holiday budget on the internet this year, according to Deloitte. However, consumers in the 18 to 24 age range lag behind this rate. And older and lower-income shoppers are underrepresented in the online buyer population. Mobile shopping is becoming a major ecommerce revenue stream. Nearly half of smartphone and tablet owners plan to use their devices to purchase holiday gifts this season. Given the fast growth in device ownership, it is likely that retailers will report significant online sales coming from mobile users this holiday season.

Note: *who intended to use mobile phone or tablet to make purchases or assist with holiday shopping Source: Accenture, "2011 Holiday Shopping Survey - US Results," Oct 2011
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Accenture also found that 54% of respondents indicated they would use their mobile phone to compare other retailers’ prices while holiday shopping in a store. This effectively turns a retailer’s store into a showroom for competing online merchants.

Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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Related eMarketer Reports
Online Holiday Shopping Preview: What Retailers Need to Know US Retail Ecommerce Forecast: Growth Opportunities in a Maturing Channel

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Online Holiday Sales Forecast: Savings and Convenience Will Drive Strong Sales

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