Digital market research firm comScore Networks today released its estimates of consumer online non-travel (retail) spending at U.S. sites for the 2006 holiday season through December 5. In the first 35 days of the 2006 season, total online retail spending was U.S. $13.68 billion, making a 25-percent increase over the same period in 2005, when spending was $10.98 billion.
That's a significant jump, but comScore data shows it is not a holidays-only phenomena. January-through-October online shopping was up about the same amount – 24 percent - for the year: $77.5 billion in 2006, compared to $62.6 billion in 2005. The research firm is forecasting the holiday season (November and December) will continue the trend, up 24 percent to $24.3 billion for 2006, compared to $19.6 billion in 2005.
Cyber Monday, Black Friday - It's All Good
comScore saw slightly higher than expected gains in online sales on Cyber Monday. It reports that sales totaled $608 million, up 26 percent versus the $484 million in sales on Cyber Monday 2005.
The theory behind Cyber Monday: it's the first day that Americans return to work, and their office computers, after the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and that's when they start serious online shopping. Apparently, some of those shoppers didn't get the memo - they started their online shopping on Black Friday, pushing up online sales by 42 percent over last year to $434 million.
Clearly, online shopping is more a part of mainstream consumer behavior than ever. And, while Nov. 27, 2006, was easily the biggest online shopping day ever, it won't hold the record for long. "We fully expect several days in the coming weeks to eclipse the spending that occurred on Cyber Monday," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks.
Some online retail business watchers predict that December 18, 2006, will be the biggest online shopping day ever. That's the last Monday before Christmas – and there's still enough time for shipping. Shipping giant FedEx predicts that the busiest night in the history of the company will be on Dec. 18, when it projects it will move almost 9.8 million packages.
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