November 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

Deal-hunters will help online holiday sales rise 12%, Forrester says

Nearly half of online consumers this year say they expect to find the best holiday shopping deals on the web, as online retail spending is expected to reach $44 billion during November and December, up 12% from a year ago, Forrester Research reports.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Nearly half of online consumers this year say they expect to find the best holiday shopping deals on the web, as online retail spending is expected to reach $44 billion during November and December, up 12% from a year ago, Forrester Research Inc. reports.

In a survey conducted last month of about 1,000 U.S. online adults, 48% of respondents said they expect to find the best values and deals online, up from 41% a year ago, Forrester says in “Outlook for U.S. Online Holiday Sales, 2008,” a report authored by Forrester principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru along with vice president and research director Carrie Johnson and analyst Peter Hult.

27% of online consumers say they plan to spend more online this holiday season than they did during last year’s holiday season, but 26% said they plan to buy less online during the holiday season because of the economy, and 47% said they expect to spend about the same as last year, the study found.

When asked which online shopping services for which they’d be willing to spend more, the largest group of respondents, or 31%, cited product personalization; 26% cited 2- to 3-day delivery; 22%, overnight delivery; 20%, shipping insurance; 20%, gift wrap or box; and 15%, extended warranty.

Online consumers this year plan to spend across all retail categories, with the most spending in apparel and books, Forrester says. Following are the percentages of consumers who said they plan to purchase online in the following retail categories:
Apparel and accessories, 75%
Books, 75%
DVDs/videos 72%
Music, 68%
Consumer electronics, 67%
Gift cards/gift certificates, 66%
Computer hardware/software, 65%
Event tickets, 62%
Video games, 61%
Flowers/cards, 59%
Jewelry, 57%
Sporting goods, 57%

Online consumers expect to increase spending year-to-year in retail categories as follows, according to the study:
Books, 18%
DVDs/videos, 17%
Consumer electronics, 14%
Music, 13%
Gift cards/gift certificates, 13%
Computer hardware/software, 13%
Toys, 12%
Video games, 11%
Event tickets, 10%
Apparel and accessories, 9%
Flowers/cards, 8%
Sporting goods, 8%
Jewelry, 6%

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