According to Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), online holiday retail sales will increase by 20 percent over 2003, to $13.2 billion, representing a decrease in year-over-year growth. In comparison, last year’s growth over 2002 was 31 percent.

The Forrester report, “Online Holiday Sales 2004: Proceed With Caution,” points to the mainstreaming of online shopping and retailers’ efforts to boost in-store sales during the 2004 holiday season as the main reasons for the decrease in year-over-year growth.

“As online shopping becomes more mainstream, online growth will begin to mimic lukewarm offline sales. And, because stores are the channel most at risk of missing sales forecasts this year, retailers will scale back online promotions, such as free shipping, and will promote large in-store discounts as a way to drive customers to stores,” says Forrester Research Senior Analyst, Carrie A. Johnson. “As a result, the benefits of in-store shopping may outweigh the convenience of shopping online this year.”

Forrester defines the holiday season as the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The research mentioned in this release, “Online Holiday Sales 2004: Proceed With Caution,” is available to Forrester WholeView 2¿ clients and can be found at