Economy to Slow U.S. Holiday Online Sales?

Economy to Slow U.S. Holiday Online Sales?

The currently economic climate is expected to have a depressive effect on end-of-year holiday sales in the United States—a period of consumers spending many retailers rely upon to keep their businesses in the black. Now, Forrester Research has released its forecast for U.S. online retail sales for this holiday season: on one hand, the picture is rosy, with the company seeing some $44 billion in online retail spending during the period. That would be a 12 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and 12 percent growth isn’t anything to be sad about, right? Perhaps…unless one considers that would be the slowest rate of online holiday sales growth to date.

“While eCommerce has traditionally been resistant to negative offline trends, growing concerns about the stability of the economy are finally affecting consumers’ online shopping decisions,” said Forrester Research Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, in a statement.

Forrester found that consumers are generally pessimistic about the economy, and will increasingly be turning to online retailers in an effort to stretch their dollars. Some 48 percent of over 2,000 consumers Forrester surveyed said they can find the best deals online, compared to 41 percent last year. And two-thirds of consumers said they planned to spend about the same or more online this year than they did last year, with clothing, books, DVDs, music, gift certificates, and toys topping the list. Consumers will also be on the lookout for free shipping offers.

In 2007, U.S. holiday online sales amounted to about $37 billion, an 18 percent increase over online holiday spending in 2006.

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