NEW YORK ComScore Inc (SCOR.O), an analytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street, on Tuesday predicted U.S. e-commerce sales will grow 16 percent to $55.2 billion this holiday season.
The forecast echoes that of Forrester Research which estimated that e-commerce will grow 15 percent, fueled by bargain hunters using the Internet to look for deals, retailers offering shoppers more ways to pick up orders, and consumers using mobile devices more as they shop.
Last year e-commerce sales rose 14 percent.
Success online is crucial for retailers to do well this holiday season, when they typically get 30 percent of annual sales, all the more so given how much faster e-commerce is growing than sales in stores.
The National Retail Federation has said it expects overall retail sales to rise 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion.
In a bid to compete with online retail giant Amazon.com (AMZN.O), retailers have increased shoppers' options for picking up orders. For the first time, Macy's Inc (M.N) is letting shoppers pick up in-store what they order online, while Gap Inc (GPS.N) has expanded its program that lets shoppers reserve items in-store from their computers.
Many chains, like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), Macy's and Kohl's Corp (KSS.N), are using their stores to fill orders to speed delivery of online orders.
ComScore said Cyber Monday, traditionally the busiest online shopping day that follows the long Thanksgiving weekend, should see total sales surpass $2 billion.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)