US retail ecommerce holiday sales (excluding travel) will reach $54.5 billion in 2012, up 16.8% over 2011, marking the fourth straight year of strong growth after online holiday sales plummeted in 2008 amidst the Great Recession. Mobile shopping and online deal hunting will be major contributors to holiday ecommerce success this year. Smartphone and tablet shoppers together will generate more than 20% of total online holiday sales. Price-conscious consumers who have learned to time their online purchases around retailers’ big promotions will shop during peak sales periods early and late in the holiday season—effectively stretching the shopping calendar from Halloween to after Christmas. Consumers have also honed their cross-channel shopping skills. Last holiday season, nearly two-thirds of online consumers researched online before making an in-store purchase. This trend will be even more pronounced in 2012, as in-store shoppers armed with smartphones do online research while standing before considered products.