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Holiday digital sales to grow at least 20%

NEW YORK — Research released Monday by Citigroup and published by Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch found that digital sales for the holiday 2012 shopping season are expected to increase at least 20%, thanks to two additional shopping days and amped-up retail marketing efforts.

Surprisingly, however, Citi found that mobile shopping will likely have a limited impact on sales. That’s partly because while sales made through smartphones are expected to surge to $31 billion in 2016 from an estimated $10 billion this year, the figures only account for 7% of total online sales in 2016, up from an estimated 3% of e-commerce this year, according to Forrester Research data.
 
In comparison, U.S. online-retail sales are expected to surge to $327 billion by 2016 from more than $200 billion last year, with e-commerce accounting for 9% of total retail industry demand in 2016, up from 7% last year, Forrester found.
 
Sales through social networks also will have a limited direct-sales impact. While they are expected to surge by 93% each year, the amount is expected to come to $14 billion in 2015 from $1 billion last year.

Sales generated from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, or the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, will continue to grow in importance this season, found the research. Promotional efforts will start well before Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Day itself will continue to emerge as a more important online-shopping day.