Ugly Christmas Sweater is optimistic about the upcoming holiday season. After all, consumers continue to shift more of their shopping online—particularly during the holidays. Last year, for example, consumers spent $125.91 billion online in the final two months of the year, according to Adobe Digital Insights estimates that are based on data that measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers. Ugly Christmas Sweater has plenty of company among retailers feeling good about their prospects for strong holiday sales; 44% of merchants expect their ecommerce sales to grow at least 25% this year during the final two months of the year, according to an exclusive Internet Retailer and Bizrate Insights survey of 106 merchants.

But amid that optimism there is some cause for concern for many retailers that face a number of new challenges this year. They include tariffs stemming from an ongoing trade war with China and increased shipping pressure from Amazon, which began rolling out free one-day shipping for its Prime loyalty members in the first half of 2019.

Retailers must consider these issues heading into the holidays given that a successful November and December is paramount for most online merchants. How they’re approaching the season varies in any number of ways based on any number of factors. To explore some of those differences, Internet Retailer examined the paths that a number of merchants—ranging from a holiday-focused retailer to a gift-focused retailer to an apparel merchant to a mattress retailer—are taking as they gear up for the holidays.

This article includes:

  • Interviews with four retailers detailing their priorities for holiday 2019
  • Exclusive survey data on how retailers are preparing for holiday 2019

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