Online Holiday Spending Hits $22 Billion

More than $22 billion has been spent online during the 44 days of the holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 14), an 18-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year, according to comScore. Monday, December 10 reached $881 million in sales (up 33 percent versus last year), registering as the heaviest online spending day of the season and the heaviest online spending day on record.

Online retail spending excludes travel, auctions, and large corporate purchases, comScore said.

“Despite the strong surge in spending we observed at the beginning of last week, with both Monday and Tuesday easily surpassing $800 million in sales and showing very strong growth rates, the remainder of the week saw more modest spending,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “However, we anticipate that spending at the beginning of this week will again be strong with most free shipping deals available until Dec. 18.”

This year’s 18 percent online retail spending growth rate stands well below the 26 percent rate at the same time last year, said the Reston-Va.-based company which measures digital data. An analysis of online spending by household income reveals that slower growth among lower income households is weighing on the overall season-to-date growth. While households earning at least $100,000 have increased their online spending 28 percent versus year ago, households making less than $50,000 have increased their spending by just 10 percent.

“The current economic realities appear to be having a negative impact on the growth in consumer spending,” Fulgoni said. “From the sub-prime housing meltdown to a decline in home values to higher gas prices and an uncertain stock market, many consumers across all income segments are either feeling the pinch this holiday season or are lacking the confidence to spend at the rate they had in the past. Consumers in lower income segments appear to be the most affected, as evidenced by the sluggish growth in their rate of online spending.”