Online Shopping Trends

Total spending of online sales decreased slightly - by $2.6 million - but the number of online shoppers continued to rise, along with the amount spent on small-ticket items, according to the ninth survey in the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index monthly series from The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester Research in conjunction with Greenfield Online.

Fifteen-and-a-half million households shopped online in September, spending a total of $4.2 billion online - an average of $272 per person.

"Total spending on small-ticket items increased from $1.6 billion in August to $1.8 billion in September, while big-ticket items shrunk from $2.6 billion in August to $2.4 billion in September," said David M. Cooperstein, research director at Forrester. "Consumers are spending more on small-ticket items like apparel and office supplies and less on vacations and other big-ticket items."

Although the majority of low-priced, small-ticket items increased, garden supplies experienced the greatest growth - an 82% increase from August to September. Spending on small appliances also experienced a significant increase of 52% from August to September. Music fell from $142 million in August to $133 million in September; videos fell from $103 million to $86 million; sporting goods from $71 million to $63 million; and tools and hardware from $57 million to $50 million.

Online sales decreased in six out of nine big-ticket categories. Furniture led the way, experiencing a 28% decrease - from $45 million in August to $32 million in September. Appliances experienced the biggest rise, with sales jumping from $19 million in August to $29 million in September.

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