Q1 Online Retail Spending Up 12 Percent To $38 Billion; Number Of Buyers Up 7 Percent

While online to offline buying is growing rapidly, so is e-commerce, according to comScore’s latest data. The research company is reporting that online retail spending online retail spending reached $38 billion for the quarter, up 12 percent from a year ago. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and second consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates, says comScore. Online retail spending reached a record $43.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 (and during the holiday season), up 11 percent from the previous year.

comScore says the 12 percent growth in the quarter was due to an increase in number of buyers (up 7 percent) and transactions per buyer (up 9 percent), but accompanied by a slight decline in dollars per transaction (down 4 percent). Additionally, one of the drivers of an increase in spending online is that online retailers are often offering lower price points than brick and mortar stores. And this quarter’s growth in e-commerce spending was roughly double that observed at offline retail.

The top-performing online product categories were: Video Games, Consoles & Accessories; Books & Magazines; Computers/Peripherals/PDAs; Consumer Electronics; and Computer Software (excl. PC Games). Spending in each of these categories grew at least 13 percent in first quarter from a year ago.

The top 25 online retailers accounted for 67.7 percent of dollars spent online, which is the same percentage as last year, which is good news for small and mid-sized online retailers.

comScore cautions that online spending could decreases if high gas prices continue to eat into discretionary spending, but it is good news for e-commerce sites, both big and small, that more consumers are looking to the web for shopping. While the holiday shopping season is still six months away, signs point to e-commerce spending reaching record levels once again.