Saturday, January 03, 2009

Despite Recession, Online Shoppers Outperform Holiday Brick-and-Mortar Customers: comScore

The online shopping season was a poor one, seeing a 3% decline, which was the first negative growth rate for the holiday season since comScore began tracking e-commerce. Despite this, it appears that online shoppers "outperformed" visitors to brick-and-mortar stores in several categories, at least in terms of shopping trends.

The study compared comScore e-commerce data to combined online and offline consumer spending data published by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse Unit (.PDF) for the period of Nov. 1 – Dec. 24 vs. year ago.

In a press release, comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said:
"For an online holiday shopping season that recorded a disappointing 3-percent decline in sales, a positive note is that e-commerce trends outperformed overall consumer spending in several product categories, which is to say that e-commerce continued to capture an increasing share of consumers’ wallet. Clearly, 2008 was an extremely challenging time for many retailers, and the beginning of 2009 may not be much better. But when the consumer economy eventually does rebound, e-commerce is poised to benefit from its emergence as an important consumer sales channel."
Some examples of the online spending data vs. overall spending data:
  • Online sales of Apparel & Accessories were up 4%, compared to a 19 - 21%decline in overall sales.
  • Consumer Electronics declined 5% online and Home, Garden and Furniture declined 14% online. SpendingPulse's data shows a 26% decline in overall sales of Electronics/ Appliances.
  • Jewelry & Watches dropped 24% online, compared to a 34% decline in overall sales of Luxury Goods (including Jewelry & Watches).
SpendingPulse didn't examine any of the other categories that comScore did, but it's still interesting to see the relative strength of online shopping vs. overall shopping. I have to admit, that personally, the sheer convenience of shopping online, the (in general) better prices, avoiding the crush of people at malls and brick-and-mortar stores --- I haven't done any holiday shopping in a mall for years.

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