Good news today for online retailers. According to comScore, third quarter e-commerce was up nine percent from the same period last year, to $32.1 billion in spending for the quarter. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth following the drought in spending during the recession.
The top-performing online product categories were Books & Magazines (which excludes digital downloads), Computers/Peripherals/PDAs, Computer Software (excl. PC Games) and Consumer Electronics. Retailers continue to use free shipping as an incentive, with 41 percent of online retail transactions for the quarter including free shipping. The top 25 online retailers accounted for 70 percent of dollars spent online, up 5.5 percent from a year ago. Online retailers who sell solely through the web accounted for 58 percent of dollars spent online compared to 42 percent among multichannel retailers.
For retailers, this is good news for holiday e-commerce sales. With the continued increase in spending online, retailers can expect a stronger holiday sales season. To put this in perspective, online holiday sales in 2009 reached $27 billion, so at the very least, spending should pass $32 billion.