By Leena Rao
The numbers are in. And they look good. It appears that online holiday spending rose slightly this year, by 5 percent, to $27 billion for the shopping season from November 1 through Christmas Eve, according to comScore. For the time period from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, sales showed a slight uptick, rising 3.5 percent. With respect to individual product categories, consumer electronics saw yearly sales growth of slightly over 20 percent, while sales of jewelry and watches also rose.
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 (NYSE:BBY) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) 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. While it’s a good sign that online spending is growing, retailers still need to dig themselves out of the hole from last year’s season. But there’s still a little less than a week left of the holiday season, and sales could rise even more.