Holiday shoppers are expected to spend more money online this year, which could translate into another record season for the shipping industry, analysts say.
Consulting firm Deloitte projects online and mail-order holiday sales will grow between 8.5-9 percent. Total holiday sales are expected to exceed $960 billion, a 3.5-4 percent gain.
“An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year,” said Daniel Bachman, a Deloitte senior economist.
Retailers are gearing up for the online frenzy. Toys R Us, for example, recently lowered its minimum requirements for free shipping, hoping to attract more shoppers.
“Online sales continue to be a growth channel,” said Rod Sides, a Deloitte vice chairman.
Online holiday sales jumped 15 percent last year, reaching $53.3 billion, according to Internet analytics company Comscore.
The surge helped produce a record season for shippers. The Postal Service delivered approximately 524 million packages last December, up 18 percent from one year earlier.