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Forrester Research forecast on December 17th that online holiday retail sales will grow by only 20% this year, compared to 31% last year. Forrester provides two reasons for the slow-down. First, online shopping has become more mainstream, so growth rates are converging with offline sales growth. Second, "because stores are the channel most at risk of missing sales forecasts this year, retailers will scale back online promotions, such as free shipping, and will promote large in-store discounts as a way to drive customers to stores".

Forrester's numbers are consistent with recent comments from Majestic Research, which predicted that online sales would come in at the low-end of its prior 23-25% growth forecast.

Is only 20% growth priced into the eCommerce stocks, or will investors be disappointed at companies' financial results when they are released in mid-January? Investor expectations for Amazon are already fairly muted. But many other stocks have risen a lot over the last few months.

Source: Forrester predicts lackluster online holiday sales