November 1, 2001, 12:00 AM

Online retail spending holds steady, travel bounces back, comScore reports

Online retail sales are holding steady at levels equal to those before Sept. 11, after declining for the first few weeks after the attack, comScore Networks Inc.’s latest report shows. Travel services sales grew to only 6% below pre-attack levels.

Online retail sales are holding steady at levels equal to those before Sept. 11, after declining for the first few weeks after the attack, comScore Networks Inc.’s latest report shows. In addition, travel services posted the strongest performance seen since the attacks, with consumer sales at only 6% below pre-attack levels.

During the week ending last Sunday, Oct. 28, domestic e-commerce sales totaled $974 million, a level only 2% below the average week during a benchmark period calculated over the five months preceding September. The improvement was driven largely by a $45 million surge in online travel services.

The comScore statistics are based on the online activity of a representative cross section of over 1.5 million Internet users, who have given comScore permission to confidentially monitor their browsing and buying behavior.

Within hard goods, discretionary products showed a slight decline to 2% below average. Certain specific products such as books, toys and video games increased significantly but failed to offset greater declines in categories such as consumer electronics and event tickets. Essential products posted sales 12% greater than average, fueled by growth in apparel and health and beauty products.

"Despite recent reports of waning consumer confidence, our current analysis suggests that online commerce is continuing to hold its ground, since we continue to see consumer sales improvements in essential products," said Dan Hess, comScore Networks vice president of marketing communications. "And based on trends in some segments we suspect that the needle is starting to move in holiday shopping, perhaps earlier than the industry might expect."

Here is what comScore reported, with sales in millions. Percentage changes are vs. the pre-Sept. 11 base period.

 

   Total Travel Non-Travel
Base Period Average $999 $411 $589
Week ending
9/16/01 $693 -31% $222 -46% $471 -20%
9/23/01 $785 -21% $230 -44% $554 - 6%
9/30/01 $914 - 9% $365 -11% $549 - 7%
10/7/01 $908 - 9% $365 -11% $543 - 8%
10/14/01 $896 -10% $352 -14% $543 - 8%
10/21/01 $929 – 7% $341 –17% $588 0%
10/28/01 $974 – 2% $386 – 6% $588 0%

 

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