January 30, 2001, 5:16 PM

Online shopping lags in final week

Online buying expectedly dropped during the week leading up to Christmas, as home Internet users spent an estimated $1.04 billion, according to a study from Goldman Sachs / PC Data. Consumer online spending dropped $540 million from the holiday season's peak of $1.6 billion during the prior week. The latest weekly figures (for the week ending Dec. 24) bring the to-date holiday spending since the first week of November to $9.8 billion. This is more than twice the $4.7 billion that consumers spent online during the comparable time period in 1999. "While it appears that online holiday sales this year will be solid, veteran e-commerce companies should be the primary beneficiaries as they continue to garner market share from smaller, less-established companies," says Anthony Noto, Goldman Sachs Internet analyst. "Despite disappointing reports from some online retailers, online spending growth was healthy during the holidays," said Cameron Meierhoefer, Internet analyst for PC Data. "While many Internet retailers enjoyed a strong holiday season, this may have come at the expense of other pure-play e-retailers who needed to exceed expectations this year." Electronics led all categories in spending for the first time during the holiday season as online users spent over $118 million for last minute purchases. Overall, survey respondents were pleased with online shopping this season. Among those who bought last year, 94% said the experience was the same or better than in 1999. An Internet web measurement firm specializing in web commerce, PC Data Online, and Goldman Sachs, surveyed 2,715 home-based Internet users Dec. 25 - Dec. 28 concerning their buying practices during Dec. 18 - 24. The weekly survey is part of a study commissioned by Goldman Sachs e-commerce analyst Anthony Noto and PC Data Online to better understand and measure behaviors, attitudes and trends on online buying during the holiday season. Goldman, Sachs, & Co. and PC Data separately provide comprehensive analyses of the complete surveyed results through traditional investment research channels. The margin of error is +/- 1.9 at a 95% confidence level. Online Consumer Spending by Category
Week Ending Dec. 24, 2000
Category Spending % Gift Spending
(in thousands)
Apparel $98,738 65.3%
Books $43,105 56.8%
Computer Software $34,655 44.7%
Computer Hardware $116,844 32.1%
Game hardware $13,265 82.4%
Game software $19,563 69.8%
Toys/Childrens $104,264 88.1%
Greeting cards $9,973 66.1%
Event tickets $27,028 57.3%
Electronics $118,639 62.3%
Food/Grocery $20,913 32.7%
Home N Garden $10,858 62.6%
Flowers $14,731 82.8%
HBA $19,502 46.3%
Personal Accessories $60,462 75.6%
Music $33,694 52.9%
Pet supplies $50,901 42.7%
Sporting goods $36,559 71.6%
Travel $109,485 18.4%
Video/DVD $42,856 63.9%
Other $58,289 51.1%
Total $1,044,325
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