Non-travel e-commerce spending up 25 percent in first half of 2006

From January through June, online retail spending (not including travel) reached $46.1 billion—an increase of 24.6 percent over the same period in 2005, according to comScore Networks.

Several retail categories achieved significant growth compared to same period in the previous year, according to the Reston, Va.-based company, which tracks consumer buying habits online. Office Supplies, the top gaining retail category, saw online spending rise 54 percent, while computer software grew 39 percent. Also experiencing strong gains in the first half of 2006 were Sport & Fitness (38 percent), Home & Garden (36 percent), and Toys & Hobbies (33 percent). Jewelry and watch sales were not included in the data.

Travel spending reached $34.7 billion, a 14.7 percent gain. When combined, total online spending by consumers totaled $80.8 billion, a 20.1 percent increase.

Overall, comScore forecasts that total online spending in 2006 will reach approximately $170 billion. Of that total, comScore estimates that non-travel e-commerce spending will hit approximately $102 billion in 2006, breaking the $100 billion threshold for the first time. Approximately $24 billion is expected to be spent on non-travel during the 2006 holiday season (November 1st – December 31st).
“Despite the sluggishness of retail growth in general, online consumer spending remains strong,” said Gian Fulgoni,cChairman and co-founder of comScore Networks. “Growth in non-travel online spending continues at a rate of 25 percent year-over-year, which suggests that consumers’ online purchase behavior has been relatively unaffected by the general economic trends. This news certainly bodes well for online retailers for the upcoming holiday season.”