Forrester’s “US Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2011” launches today, revealing strong growth despite a shaky economy.  November and December alone are expected to pull in nearly 60 billion dollars in online revenue, a 15% increase over 2010 and about one-third of overall online sales volume for the year.  Much of the growth comes as a result of web shoppers doing more of their holiday shopping online and is enhanced by:

  • Customers hunting down deals.  The web has always been the channel for finding value, but as shoppers are more likely to have their smartphones in hand, and as the US unemployment rates continues to approach a double-digit percent, expect even more browsing online for great values.  Deal-related keyword searches spike around the holidays and many opportunistic customers actually look to load up on products from their own personal wishlists given the ubiquitous availability of offers. 
  • Key dates getting bigger.   The trend for the last several years has been that Cybermonday is the biggest shopping day of the year for web retailers.  This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as retailers now provide rich sales and offers on those dates, further driving customers to expect fabulous values at the same time.
  • Tablet commerce growing rapidly.  With tens of millions of consumers (and many more expected with the Fire’s release shortly) already owning tablets, consumers often choose to browse shopping sites on these devices when they have a choice.   For retailers eager to push their often time-sensitive holiday messages, apps and location-enabled web  experiences that tablets enable particularly well promise to enhance both online browsing and buying, and inspiration for the store visit.

Read the full report here as well as Martin Gill’s “European Online Christmas Retail Outlook, 2011” which sheds light on some of the global similarities and differences that eBusiness professionals face as we enter the Holiday season.