Shopping Spree: Total Online Holiday Spending Nears $30 Billion

The New Year brings with it the much awaited numbers from online holiday spending. And its good news. For the full holiday online shopping season, $29.1 billion was spent online, showing 4 percent increase versus the same period last year, according to comScore. It looks like consumers spent just over $2 billion online over the past week, as $27 billion was spent online as of last week for the shopping season from November 1 through Christmas Eve. The day consumers spent the most online happened to be on Tuesday, December 15, a.k.a, “Green Tuesday,” with consumers spending a total of $913 million in one day. In fact, Green Tuesday was one of nine individual days to surpass $800 million in spending during the 2009 holiday season. Not too shabby, considering the economy has yet to fully recover from a crippling recession.

With respect to individual product categories, online sales of jewelry and watches rose the most, growing 20 percent from 2008. Consumer electronics came in second with 15 percent sales growth from the previous year. Consumer electronics saw strong sales of flat panel TVs, mobile devices and e-readers. Other product categories that showed a strong performance were event tickets, computer hardware and books/magazines.

From reports over the past few months, the numbers indicated that the total online spending would be higher this year than last, when the U.S. spending was blindsided with a crippling recession. The final shopping weekend before Christmas saw a 13 percent growth rate in online spending from the previous year, thanks to the wintry mess that hit the Eastern Seaboard. And the full week posted a 6 percent yearly increase in spending, setting a one-week sales record with more than $4.8 billion in spending. Online sales numbers from Black Friday and Cyber Monday also appeared to be stronger than last year.

ComScore also reported that larger e-retailers like Best Buy and Walmart outperformed the smaller online shops. The web analytics company says that sales from larger retailers were buoyed by promotions, and offers of free shipping later in the holiday season. Social media was also used as a strategy for retailers. 28 percent of shoppers surveyed by comScore reported that social media promotions from retailers influenced their purchases.

Of course, it’s important to note that these sales numbers are being compared to those from last year, when spending was at a low thanks to the bleak conditions of the economy. But online retailers have reason to be optimistic for next year as the economy steadily recovers, and consumers increasingly look online to find for holiday deals.