The Latest Online Holiday Sales Forecasts: Revised Upward

Posted by Cristina Lucero, Research Associate

For the first 46 days of the November/December 2011 holiday season, online spending increased 15% YoY to $30.9 billion according to comScore.  This increase has caused the National Retail Federation (NRF) to revise its holiday forecast upward, expecting holiday sales to rise 3.8% this year to a record $469.1 billion. NRF’s initial forecast called for anticipated sales growth of 2.8%.  While a 3.8% sales increase is considerably above the ten-year average sales increase of 2.6%, it’s still lower than the 5.2% increase the retail industry saw last year.

In addition, NRF’s most recent holiday survey found that the average American has completed far less of their holiday shopping than in previous years—an indication that many shoppers bought for themselves in November and have plenty of holiday shopping left to do.

Spending chart

Other 2011 (initial) holiday predictions are below.  Whose prediction will be the closest?

  • Kantar Retail: U.S. Web sales during the fourth quarter will hit $60.4 billion, up 13.5% from the $53.2 billion spent by online shoppers during the same period last year
  • eMarketer: Online sales will grow by 12% (matching last year)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers: Retail sales will rise 3% or less overall
  • Deloitte: Holiday sales will be between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5 to 3% YoY increase in November-through-January holiday sales

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