Survey: Online holiday spending for jewelry and watches will lead all other categories

Online holiday spending for jewelry and watches is expected to reach $739 million, a 67% increase over the previous year to lead all other consumer categories surveyed by comScore Networks.

“At the category level, we continue to see strong growth in Jewelry & Watches, Furniture, Appliances & Equipment, and Home & Garden products, indicating a continued shift to online buying in categories that were traditionally only bought offline,” says Dan Hess, senior vice president of the Reston, Va.-based consumer consulting firm. “Aside from the growth in direct online spending, we’ll also continue to see the substantial impact on offline retail sales of consumers’ use of the Internet to research products and compare prices.”

Overall, holiday online spending is projected to exceed $15 billion this year, a 23% to 26% increase over the previous year, according to company, which released its report Wednesday. This year through Oct. 17, consumer online spending has reached $48.2 billion, a 25% over the same period in the previous year. The company projects consumer online spending to be approximately $66 billion by year’s end.

“We believe consumers’ growing familiarity and confidence with online shopping, coupled with a dramatic increase in broadband penetration and continuing efforts by retailers to simplify the shopping process across channels, will translate to substantial gains for online merchants again this year,” Hess says. “While forecasted growth will be slightly lower this season than last, online retailers will still close the year up about 25% compared to 2003 – an impressive accomplishment given mixed signals of consumer confidence and a soft economy in general.”