NRF Expects 12 Percent Growth in Online Holiday Shopping
By Ina Steiner
The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted holiday sales this year will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion, higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent, but lower than in 2011 growth of 5.6 percent.
Think it's too early to talk about holiday shopping? According to NRF data from BIGinsight, almost 14% of online retailers had begun their 2011 holiday promotions by the week of October 10th - and 53% had begun their holiday promotions by the end of October.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said Tuesday's forecast was the most optimistic it had released since the recession and that, in spite of uncertainties in the economy and among consumers, he believes holiday sales will see solid growth this year.
"Variables including an upcoming presidential election, confusion surrounding the "fiscal cliff" and concern relating to future economic growth could all combine to affect consumers' spending plans," Shay said, "but overall we are optimistic that retailers promotions will hit the right chord with holiday shoppers."
NRF's holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer confidence, consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases, and now includes the non-store category (direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales).
The NRF's ecommerce arm Shop.org forecasts online holiday sales will grow 12% over last holiday season to as much as $96 billion. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that total 2011 4th Quarter ecommerce sales increased 15 percent. Shop.org defines the holiday season as sales in the months of November and December.
Shay said, "Online retail has been a bright spot for years and we don't expect that trend to change anytime soon, especially with the growth in mobile. Aside from the convenience, shoppers look to the holiday season to take advantage of retailers' increased digital offerings."
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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