Survey: Late-Season Surge in Online Buying

Online retail spending (non-travel) at U.S. Web sites during the first 45 days of the holiday season reached $19.48 billion, a 25-percent increase versus the corresponding days in 2005.

The figures released by the Reston, Va.-based company, which measures digital data, are for the holiday season through Dec. 15.

“Retailers have been aggressive this year with their online marketing efforts, targeting consumers with early-season promotions,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks. “And now they’re looking finish off the season strong by tempting consumers to continue shopping online later, with guarantees of on-time delivery for items purchased as late as December 18.”

On Dec. 13, consumers set a single-day record for online spending with $667 million, breaking a record set only two day earlier. For the week, online spending rose to the highest point of the year. What is even more important, according to comScore, is that the growth rate versus year ago increased toward the end of the week.

“The growth rate of online retail spending accelerated during the latter part of last week, with sales on Friday, Dec. 15 growing 38 percent versus the corresponding day last year,” Fulgoni said. “This demonstrates consumers’ willingness to rely on retailers’ late-season shipping guarantees.”

He added, “Later shipping deadlines this season and the fact that many consumers received a paycheck on Dec. 15 could keep online sales in full swing early next week.”