This holiday season, online retailers are expecting to see a much stronger surge in holiday sales – Forrester has predicted online revenues of $68.4 billion this holiday season, a 15 percent increase over last years’ holiday sales, and 3 percent higher than the overall annual online retail growth rate.

With the effects of the economic recession finally starting to ease, slight gains in job growth and signs of recovery in the housing market, many research organizations are predicting an increase in spending.

According to an article in the International Business Times, eShoppers “are expected to spend more in the fourth quarter than in the third on online sales, as they have since the firm started tracking such data in the first quarter of 2007, when Americans spent $28 billion on online purchases.”

Retailers are getting the jump on the expected increase in shopping by starting promotions earlier this year. According to a report by eMarketer, 42 percent of retailers started promotions as early as October, and it was reported that last year, “half of all consumers had completed their holiday shopping before Black Friday.”

Many shoppers will look forward to the deep discounts and large sales offered the day after Thanksgiving with the start to the holiday shopping season. In 2011, the top 500 retail websites had more than 170 million unique U.S. shoppers between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and online retailers can expect stronger growth this year.

Even with the economy continuing to recover, many shoppers are still price-sensitive. Many online sites feature various offers such as daily deals, free shipping or large discounts during specific periods of time. Because of these promotions, online retailers have become “synonymous with value” according  to Forrester Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. Online retailers should look at these promotions, as well as loyalty rewards or personalized offers to customers, to determine a workable mix of offers that will make holiday revenues merry and bright.

Are your holiday sales starting to heat up? We’d love to hear from you.