After announcing some early post-Christmas numbers, comScore just released its final analysis of U.S. online holiday spending for 2012: shoppers bought a total of $42.3 billion worth of goods online from November 1 to December 31. That’s up 14 percent from the $37.2 billion comScore reported last year, but a bit lower than expected as shoppers slowed down around mid-December.
While the numbers were up across the board, comScore registered especially strong increases in online shopping on Thanksgiving Day (up 32 percent to $622 million) and “Free Shipping Day” on December 17 (up 76 percent to just over $1 billion). While Christmas Day itself was rather slow with $288 million spent on online shopping, even that number was up 36 percent, though it couldn’t make up for a generally soft end of December.
Overall, these increases around 15 percent have been pretty standard over the last few years. ComScore originally predicted a growth rate around 16 percent for this year, but as the company’s chairman Gian Fulgoni pointed out in today’s release: “November started out at a very healthy 16-percent growth rate through the promotional period of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but consumers almost immediately pulled back on spending, apparently due to concerns over the looming fiscal cliff and what that might mean for their household budgets in 2013.” The last week of December clearly shows this softening with a minuscule year-over-year increase from $2.499 billion to $2.530 billion.