opinion

Online Spending Records in Q4 2010

Joe D
Good news was hard to come by in 2010, but as we shut it down and focus on 2011 industry leaders at eMarketer.com have published their predictions for Q4. According to the marketing giant, e-commerce spending is anticipated to grow 13.7% to as high as $51.4 billion in the fourth quarter, exceeding 2009 e-commerce sales that reached $45.2 billion. The experts believe that it will be a boost in online sales for the holiday season that will push the overall e-commerce totals for 2010 to $162.4 billion.

Despite a downturn economy, those figures are an increase of 12.7% from totals seen in 2009. Industry insiders are predicting that 2010 holiday sales will equate to as much as 23.7% of the year’s total online retail sales, making November and December even more important to the e-commerce marketer than ever before.

So what is the inspiration behind the predicted jump in online sales? Economic analysts believe that shoppers are looking for deals more this year than ever before, driving them to the Internet to look for low-prices, guarantees and offers of free shipping. Consumer confidence in online retail sales is at an all-time high, with today’s smart shopper well-aware of all the bargains that can be found on the Internet from specialty shops and other retailers that may not be available to them locally.

Another factor that is influencing the jump is concerns about crowded shopping malls and this year’s predictions about an unusually bad flu season, as well as other crowd concerns. Coupon websites and special holiday-only bargains will be very popular, so businesses would do well to keep an eye on their competitors to ensure that they are offering comparable deals within the market – and that reminds me – if you have not yet engaged in serious mail management efforts you need to focus on some serious campaigns throughout 2011.

Experts also believe that shoppers that do a majority of their holiday shopping online tend to be more affluent than the average store shopper, as seen in holiday sales results from large department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Another influence is the maturity of social networking marketing and mobile e-commerce, which allows customers to use their smartphones to find the best deals, read over customer reviews and find out-of-stock items at other stores. This was all confirmed during the 2010 Black Friday Frenzy this year.

Beyond online sales figures, the Internet is also expected to be a prominent influence for in-store sales as well. Penetration of popular retailers in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will help keep shoppers informed about special holiday events, sales and promotions, getting them to go to the stores in-person for the best deals.

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