Online Retail Sales For 2006 Surpass $100 Billion Mark

For the full year 2006, online retail spending (non-travel) reached $102.1 billion, marking a 24-percent increase versus 2005, according to comScore Networks. Online holiday e-commerce accounted for $24.6 billion, up 26 percent increase versus last year.

“2006 was certainly an exceptional year for online retailers as e-commerce spending eclipsed $100 billion for the first time, and growth remained very strong with a 24-percent increase versus last year,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of the reston-Virg.-based company that measure digital data. “The online holiday shopping season of course played a vital role in the year’s success, as spending accelerated during the final two months of the year, helping push total online retail spending over the $100 billion threshold.”

Online retail spending saw several strong individual spending days during 2006, with 12 days during the November/December holiday season surpassing the $600 million mark. In comparison, six days in 2005 reached $500 million in online sales, with the top day registering $556 million.

Dec. 13 marked the heaviest online spending day of 2006 with $667 million spent, followed by Dec. 11 ($661 million), and Dec. 4 ($648 million). Monday, Nov. 27, heavily promoted as “Cyber Monday” ended up 12th among the biggest spending days.

Online consumers pushed their buying later than ever, comScore said. Spending growth during the first third of the season rose 23 percent above 2005 levels, despite the week before Thanksgiving, which saw robust 30-percent growth versus the corresponding week in 2005. The middle third of the season, during which the greatest share of holiday e-commerce spending occurred, was consistent with the 26-percent growth demonstrated during the course of the season as a whole. The final three weeks of the holiday season saw a major surge in spending as the procrastinators came out in full force, driving a 31-percent increase versus the corresponding weeks in 2005.

The week leading up to Christmas (ending Dec. 24) saw the biggest surge with a 45-percent increase versus the corresponding week a year ago, as consumers showed their faith in online retailers’ ability to deliver product in time for Christmas.