Just an Online Minute... Continued Strength
Why? For starters, according to comScore, total consumer online sales for the third quarter of 2002 reached $17.9 billion, up 35% versus the third quarter of 2001 and up 2% versus the second quarter of 2002. Year-to-date sales through Sept. 30 totaled $52.5 billion, up 41% versus the same period in 2001, and nearly equal to the $53.1 billion in spending posted in all of 2001.
"While the third quarter opened sluggishly, sales in August and September climbed strongly, reflecting continued strength in consumer spending," says comScore Networks VP Michelle David Adams.
More importantly, late-breaking sales data indicate that the fourth quarter opened strongly, with sales of non-travel goods totaling $918 million during the week ending October 6, the highest level posted in the year to date.
As e-commerce continues to claim a greater share of total consumer dollars, retailers seeking to win online face complex challenges. comScore analysts reported that more shoppers are buying online, but spending per buyer has declined somewhat while new online buyers build confidence in the medium. And compared to last year, 2002's compressed season means merchants have less time in which to earn even more business.
"While the third quarter brought relatively positive results, all attention is now focused on the make-it-or-break-it fourth-quarter," Adams says. "There's clearly a mandate for retailers to be creative and aggressive in designing promotions that increase consumer confidence and persuade shoppers to spend more, earlier."