Online Holiday Sales since Cyber Monday Up 7%

Approximately $15.63 billion has been spent online for the first 37 days of the November – December 2008 holiday season, ended Dec. 7, essentially the same level compared to the corresponding days last year, according to digital tracking firm, comScore. During the first week since Cyber Monday (Dec. 1 – Dec. 7), sales totaled $4.45 billion, up 7 percent year-over-year. 

Cyber Monday (Dec. 1) is considered by the e-commerce community to be the kick-off to the heaviest part of the online holiday shopping season. Online retail holiday sales totals recored by comScore exclude travel.

“Cyber Monday kicked off a week of modest growth in online spending, and, hopefully, reflects what will occur over the final weeks leading up to Christmas,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “The compressed shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year means that there is now a greater sense of urgency in order to get all of one’s shopping completed in time. With many consumers likely to rely on the convenience of online shopping in these final weeks, I hope to see this positive momentum continue as we count down the days to Christmas.”

The Reston-Va.-based firm also reports that 33.4 percent of all online sales in 2008 were driven by referral activity, up slightly from 32.8 percent in 2007. Referral activity typically reflects retailers’ marketing activities which provide consumers with relevant information on prices and discounts.

While search remains the dominant referral activity, accounting for 55 percent of referred dollar sales during the season-to-date, it is down slightly from 57 percent last year, according to comScore. Meanwhile, e-mail has accounted for 16 percent of referred dollars, up 5 percentage points from last year, reflecting retailers’ heavier use of e-mail marketing programs this season. Comparison shopping sites and coupon sites also represent a larger contribution to retailers’ referred dollar sales than they did last year.

ComScore forecasts that online holiday spending (excluding travel) will total approximately $29.2 billion, unchanged from the 2007 holiday season.