Shoppers Will Spend Nearly 17% More Online This Holiday Season

Online shoppers in the U.S. will spend $54.47 billion this holiday season – nearly a 17% increase over the $46.63 billion spent last year, according to the 2012 Mindset of a Multichannel Shopper survey released Wednesday.

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Ecommerce software and solutions provider MarketLive commissioned the e-tailing Group to conduct the survey. A total of 1,136 consumers completed an online questionnaire last month consisting of 50% males, 50% females; and 61% of survey respondents shop at least several times per month.

Lauren Freedman, president of consultancy the e-tailing Group, said the online sales projection for the holiday season (from eMarketer) marks the fourth consecutive year that online holiday sales (defined as sales in November and December) will post annual growth in the mid-to-high teens, after sinking 8.2% during the recession in 2008.

According to eMarketer’s online holiday sales forecast, consumers will turn to the Internet to stay within their budgets, locate hard-to-find gifts and avoid crowded stores. Online holiday sales will account for nearly a quarter (24.3%) of the $224.2 billion in U.S. retail ecommerce sales forecast for all of 2012.

While the bulk of online holiday sales continues to take place in the first half of December, key dates in the early and late parts of the season are assuming a greater share of total sales, and posting higher growth than the average for the overall holiday season.

To reach price-driven consumers during the peak season, retailers are offering limited-time branded sales events, in addition to event days like Cyber Monday. Large discounts can generate word-of-mouth on social networks, and retailers can promote these events and offer exclusives to their fans via Facebook and Twitter.

Jim Tierney ([email protected]) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.