This week kicks off the, “Super Bowl” of retailing, the annual holiday shopping season. What do merchants expect from you, the consumer?

According to’s eHoliday survey conducted by BIGresearch, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) retailers say they expect their company’s online sales to grow at least 15% or more compared to last holiday season, up from the 63.8% who had those expectations last year. The survey is supported by new data from the National Retail Federation, which found the average shopper plans to do about 36% of their holiday shopping online, up from 32.7% last year.

The surveys indicate this retail season will be pivotal for merchants on the road to economic recovery. But it will not be a crucial as recent season. More online shopping, more promotions earlier. And we consumers will see those magic words, “free shipping” on more websites.

Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation says average spending will be just over 700 bucks. ”It’s a very different kind of atmosphere this year, with the economy still being very challenging for some people. But we are expecting consumers to shed a little bit of their budget on themselves,” Grannis said.

She said retailers at all levels are expecting to see what she calls, “modest growth” in holiday says, year over year.