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Holiday shopping forecast update

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Thursday October 23, 2008 )

In keeping with the general messages of gloom and doom, the online world is not looking as sparkly in terms of sales growth this holiday season according to forecast updates just out. But let’s keep this in perspective.

Emarketer is forecasting growth of around 10.1% over 2007 and Forrester Research pegs it at around 12 percent this holiday season. These are the lowest rises ever. A third online shoppers plan to spend less this November and December than they did last year, the research group found.

We’ve grown accustomed to high teens and low 20’s in terms of percentage rises over the years, but as I’ve mentioned many times, it’s simply not sustainable; there’s only so much junk people can buy and hyperconsumption is finally starting to reap what it has sown. We need to change tack…and fast. Heck, even Walmart is making noises about consumers needing to reduce consumption. Perhaps we’re finally heading into a brave new world?

Personally, I think 10 – 12% growth is pretty darned good given the current financial climate, but no doubt the pessimism will again be reflected on Wall Street.

Here’s another positive prediction for online merchants. According to Emarketer, this year 49% of holiday shopping in the USA will happen online, compared with 44% in stores. This is quite a milestone in ecommerce evolution as it’s the first time online sales will surpass bricks and mortar in terms of the preferred method of purchase.

By the way, in terms of what folks are looking for when making purchase decisions online this year – it seems that free shipping, as always, will be very popular.

So chin up chappies and tally ho – into the holiday shopping fray we go!


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