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Online holiday expectations set the bar high for continued growth in 2012

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Internet Retailer, Women's Wear Daily or MarketWatch, I have big news to share with you today. For the first time in its history, has announced an online holiday sales forecast, projecting a terrific 12 percent increase in online holiday sales over last year. Compared to all holiday sales, which are expected to rise 4.1% to around $586.1 billion, online-only sales are a growing piece of that holiday pie.

According to our forecast, this 12% increase could push online holiday sales to total as much as $96 billion this year. As I've said before, online retail growth continues to be a bright spot in our economy. While this year's shopper may be a bit cautious, online promotions, free shipping offers and the continued growth of mobile and social could push online retail to gain more ground.

Retailers are continually listening and making changes to provide a great experience for their customers. By working with our ever-evolving digital industry partners, most digital retailers have spent this year improving the shopping experience through enhancements to their mobile offerings and communicating better and more specifically through the social channels that their shoppers use daily. With all of the technology options at the ready 24/7, retailers will make sure that getting that perfect gift is as easy and convenient as possible.

As always, stands at the ready to make sure you and your company are ready for anything the holiday season could bring. From our popular holiday strategy and planning guide chocked full of research, tips and tactics to free webinars focused solely on holiday '12, we're here to help.

Explore all of our Holiday '12 resources at's Holiday Central or for the omnichannel view, visit NRF's Holiday Headquarters.