Study: Holiday Online Sales Fall Short of Expectations

Consumers spent $42.3 billion online during the 2012 holiday shopping season, a 14 percent increase from 2011, but the figure fell short of expectations, according to a study by comScore.

This year’s growth was “essentially on par” with last year’s, concluded comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Despite many positives for the online sector, this year’s season did not quite perform up to our initial expectation for growth rates in excess of 16 percent as we fell a billion dollars short of our expected total of $43.4 billion,” he said in a statement.

Cyber Monday ranked as the heaviest online shopping day for the third year in a row, raking in $1.465 billion in online sales.

Online sales on Free Shipping Day (Dec. 17) were up 76 percent to $1.013 billion, and Christmas Day saw consumers spend $288 million, an increase of 36 percent.

Other highlights from the study:

  • There were 12 days with more than $1 billion in online spending, up from 10 a year ago.
  • The 10 heaviest days for online spending in 2012 all occurred during the holiday shopping period.
  • Thanksgiving weekend online spending totaled $1.2 billion, up 15 percent over 2011.
  • The week ending Dec. 16 saw online spending surpass $7 billion for the first time.
  • Online sales during the week before Christmas increased 53 percent from last year, totaling $4.2 billion.