January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

August online spending up 5 %

Online spending in August increased to $4.2 billion in August from $4 billion in July, according to figures out today from The National Retail Federation and Forrester Research Inc. in conjunction with Greenfield Online Inc. Fifteen million households shopped online in August, spending an average of $280 per person. Travel services accounted for nearly $1.4 billion of that spending. Trends noted by Forrester included an increase in apparel and footwear buying, in preparation for the start of school, Forrester says, and declines in sporting goods, tools, hardware and garden supplies. "Summer is clearly over," said David M. Cooperstein, research director at Forrester. Spending on apparel and footwear rose 16% from $215 million in July to $249 million in August. Music was the low-priced, small-ticket category that experienced the greatest growth--14% from July to August. Spending on linens/home decor also experienced a significant increase of 19% from July to August. Online sales increased in six out of nine big-ticket categories. Computer hardware led the way, up 14% increase from $377 million in July to $431 million in August. Appliances experienced the biggest dip, with sales dropping from $50 million in July to $19 million in August. The NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index measures, on a monthly basis, the growth and seasonality of online shopping based on data collected from online shoppers. The Index is based on 5,000 responses during the first 10 business days of the month from an online panel developed by Greenfield Online www.greenfield.com. The survey results for August were fielded from August 1, 2000, through August 8, 2000. The monthly panel is weighted to Forrester Research's Benchmark Panel, which surveyed nearly 90,000 US and Canadian members of a consumer mail panel developed by NPD Group, a market research firm. Data was weighted to demographically represent the North American population. The survey was fielded from late November 1999 to February 2000.

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