For the holiday season-to-date, consumers have spent $9.7 billion online -- marking a year-over-year growth rate of 14%,” according to new comScore data, said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni.
During the first 20 days of the season -- which began on November 1 -- daily online spending peaked on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at $688 million, comScore reports.
“With the persistent backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty and continued high unemployment, consumers appear to be increasingly favoring the online benefits of convenience and lower prices,” Fulgoni notes. “Based on the expectation that these positive spending trends will continue for the season, this year promises to be a Merry Christmas indeed for online retailers.”
For the entire 2011 holiday season -- from Nov. 1 through Dec.31 -- domestic online retail spending will reach $37.6 billion, representing a 15% year-over-year gain, comScore predicts.
What’s more, such a gain would represent a nice improvement over last season’s 12% year-over-year increase.
“Due to the strength leading up to and during the holiday season-to-date, comScore’s statistical models are forecasting that U.S. retail e-commerce spending will grow at a rate of 15% versus last year,” Fulgoni said.
“These projected growth rates reflect the significant channel shift we’re witnessing from offline retail as an increasing number of consumers rely on the online channel for initial browsing, price comparisons and completing transactions. With this continued momentum, comScore anticipates nearly $38 billion in online consumer spending during the November and December time period.”
Alongside its reporting of behaviorally monitored e-commerce spending, comScore said it is also conducting regular surveys of approximately 1,000 consumers to determine attitudes and sentiment in regard to the holiday shopping season.
In the most recent survey, conducted during November 17-21, 2011, consumers indicated that they believe retailers’ promotional activity for the early part of the season has increased in relation to last year.
Specifically, 33% of respondents indicated that they are seeing more discounts, sales and promotions versus last year compared to just 7% who said there were less.
As with past years, one of the more prominent incentives for online purchases remains free shipping. When asked how important free shipping is for making an online purchase this holiday season, slightly more than three-quarters -- 76% -- of consumers indicated it was important, while 47% indicated they would abandon a purchase if they got to checkout and found that free shipping was not included.
Furthermore, comScore behavioral data indicated that 40% of retail e-commerce purchases in the third quarter of the year included free shipping, while that percentage peaked in the fourth quarter of last year at 49%.