Third quarter online retail spending jumps 23 percent

Online retail spending (not including travel) increased by 23 percent in the third quarter to $23.1 billion, according to a comScore Networks report.

Travel spending online rose 9 percent for the quarter, reaching $18.2 billion, reported the Reston, Virg.-based company, which measures e-commerce consumer activity. When including travel, total online spending by consumers reached $41.3 billion in the quarter, a 16 percent increase versus the same period in 2005.

While total non-travel spending rose 23 percent, some retail categories far outperformed the average, including Consumer Electronics (excluding PC Peripherals), which rose 42 percent and Apparel & Accessories, up 32 percent versus the same quarter last year, the company reported. The Sport & Fitness and Computer Software (excluding PC games) categories rose 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Through the first three quarters of 2006, total e-commerce spending rose 19 percent versus last year to $122.1 billion, buoyed by a 24-percent increase in non-travel spending to $69.1 billion. Online travel spending, meanwhile, increased 13 percent to $52.9 billion.
Overall, comScore forecasts that total consumer online spending in 2006 should reach approximately $170 billion. Of that total, comScore estimates that non-travel e-commerce will break the $100 billion threshold for the first time. 

“Online consumer spending at U.S. sites—and particularly non-travel spending—remains strong,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks. “With year-over-year growth rates in U.S. online non-travel spending at about 23 percent in the third quarter, the Web continues flexing its muscle as one of the important drivers of retail sales growth.”