Online Consumer Spending Sets Weekly Record

More than $23 billion has been spent online during the first 46 days of the holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 16), a 19-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year, according to comScore, Inc. The most recent week, ended Dec. 22) saw online spending jump 22 percent and will likely be the heaviest online spending week of the season with $4.7 billion in sales.

The figures from the Reston, Va.-based firm, which measures digital data, excludes travel, auctions, and large corporate purchases.

“Despite a choppy spending pattern, with the beginning and end of the week showing strong growth while the mid-week days grew more slowly, the most recent week represented a strong period for online retailing,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “The current—and final—week of online shopping before Christmas will be especially critical to the overall success of the holiday shopping season. We’ll know whether consumers were simply delaying their purchases in the hopes of capturing late-season deals, or if the economic pressures weighing on people’s wallets were actually too strong to overcome, causing sales to fall below analysts’ forecasts.”

Video games, consoles & accessories continues to be the fastest growing online retail category, jumping 129 percent versus the corresponding days last year, while furniture, appliances & equipment (up 63 percent), event tickets (up 29 percent), and consumer electronics (up 24 percent) have also demonstrated above average growth. After a very slow start to the season, online apparel sales have picked up considerably, with growth now registering 17 percent for the season.