Thanks In Part To Free Shipping Offers, Online Holiday Spending Up 12 Percent To $27.5B

We know that online holiday spending is reaching highs this year, as consumers are looking to the web for deals this season. To date, comScore is reporting that $27.46 billion has been spent online, which is a 12 percent increase versus the same period of time last year. This past week ending December 17, reached $5.15 billion in spending, which is an increase of 14 percent.

In fact, four individual days this past week surpassing $900 million, led by Green Monday (Monday, December 13) with $954 million and Free Shipping Day (Friday, December 17) with $942 million.

It looks like more retailers are using free shipping as an incentive and consumers are responding positively to this trend. comScore’s data shows that sales on Free Shipping Day increased by 61 percent thanks to retailers promoting the deal. The company says that more than 1,500 online merchants offered free shipping this year, including Amazon, Walmart and others.

Each of the past five weeks has seen free shipping on at least half of transactions, while that benchmark was reached only once during the 2009 season. For the five-day week ending with Free Shipping Day, the percentage of transactions with free shipping reached 52.7 percent, up 12 percent from last year.

In terms of actual categories, spending on Computer Hardware is at the top of the list with a 25 percent increase versus last year. Interestingly, comScore says that purchases of handheld devices (such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers are most popular and is driving this sales growth. Consumer electronics came in second, growing 22 percent; followed by Books & Magazines (up 21 percent), Computer Software excluding PC Games (up 16 percent) and Toys (up 15 percent).

While we won’t know the final tally of overall spending this holiday season, all signs point to online retailers seeing healthy sales. Total spending is expect to rise 11 percent to $32.4 billion this year, so we still have a few billion to go. It’s always a good sign to see record breaking Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales; but it’s even better when consumers are continuing to spend following these peak days.