Forrester: Mobile Will Boost Online Holiday Sales

While the possibility of a double-dip recession remains, Forrester Research says it expects 2011 US holiday season online retail sales to grow 15% year over year.

The November and December holiday shopping season is expected to generate nearly $59.5 billion in online sales, aided by increased consumer touchpoints such as tablets and smartphones that give buyers more access to the Web, according to the forecast, which was released today.

Forrester estimates that 12% of the total 15% growth will result from increased spending per buyer, a sign that online retail continues to attract wallet shift from consumers looking to get the right value for their time and money.

According to the Forrester US Online Holiday Retail Forecast:

Mobile devices will influence sales and connect customers to relevant information. Thirty percent of US online adults with a smartphone report using their mobile devices to research products for purchase at least monthly, a 30% increase over 2010.

While the majority of shoppers are not purchasing on these devices yet, the devices can still be a critical piece of the holiday shopping quotient.

Tablet commerce evolves as a rich shopping experience to buy and get service. Fifty percent of US online adults who own a tablet, use their tablets to research products for purchase. The tablet, as opposed to mobile, allows for a much richer and more complete browsing experience, primed for catalog-type shopping, as evidenced by apps like Google Catalogs or TheFind).

And while tablets are primarily used at home, some retailers have transitioned them into their stores. Sears debuted in-store iPads to help shoppers check inventory, order out-of-stock items online, and access deeper product information.