Mobile will ring up a quarter of all e-com sales by 2016

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Internet transactions will play a larger role in the best holiday season in five years, a new study predicts

The upcoming holiday season promises to be the strongest in five years, with e-commerce — and especially mobile — playing a bigger role than ever.

A forecast from eMarketer predicts a 5.7% increase in retail sales in December to some $886 billion. If that comes to fruition, it will be the biggest jump since 2011, which saw a 6.3% rise. Growth in Web sales will actually dip slightly from last year's 14.4% lift, but e-commerce transactions will account for a larger chunk of the overall increase, an estimated 9%.

Mobile made its first big showing as a transactional medium during the 2014 holidays, and that momentum will build this year in a big way. M-commerce sales will grow at a 32% clip, compared to 14% last year, and the research company estimates that 25% of all Internet retail sales will take place on mobile devices by the end of 2016.

The wave of buy buttons and "shop now" options that have arisen on social networks including Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter will help fuel mobile's rise as a transactional medium, eMarketer notes.

"Consumers are opting to complete their transaction with the same device they began the shopping journey with, and that is increasingly with a smartphone," says eMarketer analyst Monica Peart.

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