Gomez: Online Holiday Retail Sales to Double

'Tis the season to be jolly, especially for online retailers. Sales from the online retail market are expected to rise to US$11.4 billion this holiday season, almost double the revenue for the same time last year.

According to a survey conducted by Gomez Advisors Inc., the main reason for this is the increase in people who have Internet access, with a growing number of consumers turning to the Net to avoid the holiday rush. The holiday season is also the ideal time for companies to enter the market or re-launch their products with online offerings, the market researcher found.

Gomez surveyed about 60 online merchants for the study, which found that companies are increasing investments in inventory planning, inventory management and merchandising. The focus seems to have shifted from attracting new customers to retaining and satisfying existing customers.

A preliminary analysis of the results shows that 81 percent of surveyed retailers plan to have real-time inventory management during the holiday season. They're also taking steps to make sure customers have a positive shopping experience -- some have guarantees from shippers, and others are posting dates after which orders cannot be guaranteed to arrive in time for the holidays. Gomez estimates that over the past year, companies have invested in customer service, fulfillment and overall profitability.

The traditional start of the U.S. holiday season is Thanksgiving, which this year falls on Nov. 23. The season runs through New Year's Day, Jan. 1, in the U.S. Other nations also celebrate a holiday season during the same time of year, though the duration and specific holidays vary.

Gomez, in Lincoln, Massachusetts can be reached at +1-781-257-2000, or on the Web at http://www.gomez.com

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