October 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Web retailers head toward holidays on an upswing

A broad survey finds many online merchants held their own this year, and most are optimistic about the period ahead.

Web retailers head toward holidays on an upswing

As the economy shows signs of pulling out of its malaise, many online retailers are approaching the holiday shopping season with confidence, according to “The State of Retailing Online 2009: Profitability, Economy and Multichannel,” a report based on a survey conducted in the first half of this year by Forrester Research Inc. on behalf of Shop.org, the online retail division of the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group. 42% of the online retailers in the study say they increased their conversion rates (total orders divided by total visitor sessions) during the first half of 2009, compared to the same period of 2008, to an average of 3.4%. And following an average growth rate of 18% in 2008 web sales over 2007, 50% of online retailers in the study say they expect sales to be better than initially expected during the next 12 months.

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