Emarketer Inc. is forecasting retail sales this holiday season to rise 5.7 percent over last year with e-commerce sales showing a 13.9 percent increase.
Mobile e-commerce, or “m-commerce,” is pegged to reach $74.9 billion in 2015. The analysts said in their holiday report that m-commerce “will remain a relatively small part of U.S. retail e-commerce overall in 2015, but sales will expand 32.2 percent this year and account for 22 percent of the total [of e-commerce sales].”
The 5.7 percent total retail sales gain is well above the National Retail Federation’s forecast for a 3.7 percent gain. EMarketer said its forecast would reflect “a solid result, and one that will come on the heels of a relatively weak first half of 2015.” The analysts noted that U.S. retail sales rose 1.5 percent during the first quarter of this year, and 0.8 percent during the second quarter. But eMarketer sees pent-up demand, and “expects a strong rebound in [the third and fourth quarters], when retail sales should rise 4.9 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.”
The bullish forecast comes as retailers push holiday promotions earlier and Black Friday becomes less relevent. The analysts also noted that double-digit growth in e-commerce sales will nudge up the channel’s share of total retail sales to 9 percent during the season. Department of Commerce figures have sales at brick-and-mortar retail channels garnering about 93 percent of total retail sales.
The reported stated that m-commerce’s robust sales growth is outpacing e-commerce “far more quickly than e-commerce as a whole, propelled by increased use of smartphones for holiday purchases.”
Regarding social e-commerce via “buy” buttons, the new feature on social sites is just launching and will not likely move the needle this year. But the analysts said “the 2015 holiday season will set the stage for more expansion in 2016.”
“Longer-term, buy buttons in social media stand a good chance of becoming major drivers of e-commerce, particularly mobile commerce,” the analysts said. “Direct-response buttons simplify the purchase path, and will likely convert some of the substantial influence of social media into direct sales.”