We’ve been wowed by the record breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending data, but it looks like consumers are continuing to spend online for holiday shopping. comScore says that retail e-commerce spending for the first 30 days of the November–December 2012 holiday season amounts to $20.4 billion, which is a 15 percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.
The most recent week, which included Cyber Monday, saw three individual days surpass $1 billion in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.46 billion. Tuesday, November 27 reached $1.26 billion, while Wednesday, November 28 reached $1.1 billion. Monday and Tuesday of this past week currently rank as the two heaviest online spending days in history, with the Tuesday total slightly outpacing that of Cyber Monday 2011.
comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni says that growth rates actually decreased following the “peak demand” of the Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional period. Interestingly, comScore says that the warmer weather throughout some parts of the country could be pushing people towards in-store shopping vs. online.
Despite these conditions, clearly people are still spending online. In fact, more than half of e-commerce transactions during each of the past three weeks of the holiday season have included free shipping, with a peak of 57 percent during the week ending Sunday, November 25. During the first five weeks of the holiday season, consumers spent an average of 42 percent more on free shipping transactions than on paid shipping transactions, including a 51-percent higher average order value during the week ending November 25. Free shipping is a good incentive for retailers, says comScore, because consumers tend to spend more on free shipping transactions.
In terms of categories, digital book, music and video downloads has grown 25 percent versus year ago. The Consumer Electronics category, despite limited growth in flat panel TV sales, ranks 4th at 17 percent growth, largely on the strength of smartphone sales. The Computer Hardware category is up 15 percent on the strength of tablet sales, despite traditional laptop and desktop computers posting more modest gains. Other categories currently performing well include Toys (up 21 percent), Consumer Packaged Goods (up 18 percent) and Video Game Consoles & Accessories (up 16 percent).
The good news: consumers are actually continuing to spend online, as retailers offer more deals and promotions. But, there have a been a few circumstances, such as weather, that have helped drive in-store sales as well. We still have a few weeks left for the holiday shopping season, so there’s plenty of time to see where the dust settles. As we’ve seen in the past, inclement weather can have strong effects on spending online. Plus, as more shoppers purchase on mobile, as well as are enticed by free shipping offers, online spending could still reach record amounts.