Washington - Nearly seven in 10 online retailers expect
their holiday sales to grow at least 15 percent or more this year, a new
Shop.org survey shows.
To generate those gains, more e-tailers (92.5 percent) will
provide free shipping on holiday purchases, up from 84.8 percent last year; nearly
a third plan to launch the offers earlier in the season, and more than half said
they have significantly invested in mobile-optimized websites.
The data come courtesy of a new e-tailer and consumer poll
by Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation (NRF), and
E-tailers' seasonal optimism is supported by NRF's own
findings that the average shopper plans to do about 36 percent of their holiday
, up from 32.7 percent last year.
"There's no question
consumers are eager to hit the web this holiday season, and online retailers
are prepping by optimizing their sites, beginning their marketing and
promotions early, and planning plenty of free shipping promotions as they aim
to provide value and convenience for their shoppers," said Shop.org research
chief Fiona Swerdlow. "Online retailers will also leverage their social media
and mobile platforms for savvy shoppers on the go, knowing how important
customer reviews and comparison shopping applications are to holiday shoppers."
The survey found that more than half of e-tailers (52.9
percent) plan to start their online holiday marketing and promotions by
Halloween, up from the 40 percent last year, while 37.2 percent said they will
begin marketing by mid-November. Additionally, 56.3 percent said their budget
for free shipping promotions is somewhat or significantly higher than last
More than half (51 percent) of online merchants have also
significantly invested in mobile-optimized websites, the survey showed, and
19.6 percent have invested in tablet apps. Additionally, 35.3 percent said they
have significantly invested in QR codes in offline advertising, and of those
who regularly use social media platforms, nearly three-quarters say they have
already invested in their Facebook (72.5 percent) and Twitter (41.2 percent)
accounts in advance of the holidays.
Conversely, the survey found that nearly three in 10 (29.2
percent) of shoppers will check out a company's Facebook page for more
information, while about two-thirds (65.1 percent) will read customer reviews
on the company's website.
"Consumers today are far from one-track minded when it comes
to finding holiday gifts," said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at
BIGresearch. "These days, most people want to shop around all season long,
using their smartphones to scan items in stores and compare prices, retailers'
websites to find store locations to scope out gift ideas, and tablets or
laptops to shop from the convenience of their home."
When asked why they plan to spend more online this holiday
season, four in 10 shoppers (43.2 percent) said 24-hour convenience is a main
consideration. Free shipping offers also resonate with consumers, 36.3 percent
of whom said they will spend more online this year if shipping comes gratis.
Other reasons include respondents' lack of desire to fight
crowds in the stores (37.2 percent) and the ease of prices comparisons (29.6
The eHoliday Study, now in its ninth year, was conducted for
Shop.org by BIGresearch, which surveyed 51 e-tailers and 1,685 consumers in
September and early October.
Washington - Nearly seven in 10 online retailers expect their holiday sales to grow at least 15 percent or more this year, a new Shop.org survey shows.