There is a lot of speculation about whether this online shopping season was a bust or boom. Some reports just before Christmas shows online shopping down 1% over that same time last year, and other reports I’ve seen show slowed overall growth, but numbers still above 2008.

In this slowing economy, many online retailers (myself included) were worried about this holiday season. We ramped up for our holiday season in early November with specials and regular email promotions, and it paid off. We’re predicting a 178% increase in online sales over last holiday season and a 220% increase in online sales in December alone.

There are likely several reasons for the increases… extended customer service hours, increased Pay Per Click budgets, long-tail search rankings that set us up as industry leaders inside our “niche of a niche.” We anticipated a strong holiday season and prepared by hiring additional staff early, beefing up on inventory, and adding features to our website such as date-specific messages about shipping times which decrease customer service inquiries.

In the midst of a rocky economy, my e-commerce sites and several of our clients’ websites continue to grow. How did you do this holiday season? To what do you attribute any increase or decrease in sales?