The Data Digest: Why US Consumers Will Be Buying More Online This Holiday Season

A recent Forrester report "US Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2010" forecasts online retail sales during the 2010 US holiday season to grow 16% year over year. Consumers are showing a willingness to spend this season, with affluent consumers driving the most growth. Respondents to our North American Technographics® Retail Online Survey, Q3 2010 (US) plan to complete 37% of their November/December holiday shopping through an online channel, up from 30% last year.

Let’s have a look at the post-mortem of the 2009 US holiday season to understand what is really important to customers: In spite of the economic slowdown last year, nearly three-quarters of US online holiday buyers maintained or increased their spending in the online channel compared with 2008. Online holiday buyers are buying more online for the same reasons that the online channel is a successful and growing component of retail in general: convenience, selection, and price.

Forrester expects key dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to gain more prominence, and close analysis of the 2009 holiday season online buying has helped retailers prepare for the 2010 season; retailers have learned that the Web offers the opportunity to get a head start on key shopping days like these. Many — Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart, to name just a few — have started their Black Friday specials days or even weeks in advance, and most are offering free shipping for the holidays.