October 25, 2001, 12:00 AM

BizRate.com expects 31% growth in online holiday sales

Fourth quarter sales will grow 25% to $11.55 billion and holiday season sales will increase 31% over last year, says BizRate.com.

Online sales this holiday season will grow 31% over last year, predicts BizRate.com, a shopping comparison site and research firm that tracks 2,000 web sites. Sales for the entire fourth quarter will grow 25% year over year and hit $11.55 billion, BizRate predicts. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the weakening economy, BizRate has backed off its earlier prediction of $12.4 billion in Q4, 34% growth.

BizRate reports that online holiday sales last year grew 60% from the previous year. Fourth quarter growth last year was 50%. BizRate measures the holiday shopping season from the Monday before Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas.

BizRate says online retailers should focus on women shoppers who now make up 55% of online shoppers vs. 39% three years ago. It also urges retailers to improve the customer experience by making sure deliveries are on time, offering adequate customer support and enhancing their sites with order tracking ability. And it says retailers must adopt a multi-channel strategy and then make sure their marketing is consistent across all channels.

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