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Online Shopping Poised for Another Holiday Lift

Published on November 9, 2010
by Geoffrey A. Fowler

Black Friday may still be crowded down at the mall, but this year more of America’s holiday shopping is going to happen online, says Forrester Research.

In a new report out on Tuesday, analyst Sucharita Mulpuru forecasts online sales in the U.S. in November and December will increase 16 percent over last year, reaching $52 billion. Retail sales as a whole are likely to increase just 2.3 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.

Last month, eMarketer analyst Jeffrey Grau similarly forecast that holiday sales would increase 14 percent.

Why is e-commerce continuing to chip away at old-fashioned retail? Online shopping is still winning a few new converts, but those are few and far between, says Mulpuru. Rather, online retailers like Amazon.com are convincing existing customers to try out buying new things online–so people who might have started out just buying books online 10 years ago today have since also become ok with the idea of buying shoes or diapers online, too. “People become evangelized to the channel when they start shopping in a couple of categories,” says Mulpuru.

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