January 2, 2002, 12:00 AM

Online shopping stays strong almost up until Christmas, comScore reports

ComScore Networks Inc. reports that online retail sales for the week before Christmas hit $1.03 billion, bringing the total for Q4 to $9.6 billion. ComScore projects Q4 2001 retail sales to have hit $10.5 billion, up 15% from the year earlier.

Online retailers had a good holiday shopping season, comScore Networks Inc. reports in its latest results. ComScore this week reported that online retail sales for the week before Christmas hit $1.03 billion, bringing total online retail sales for Q4 to $9.6 billion. ComScore projects Q4 2001 retail sales to have hit $10.5 billion, up 15% from the year earlier and 40% from Q3. ComScore’s final 2001 numbers will come out later this week.

Indicating the strength of a multi-channel strategy, ComScore reports that visitor traffic to major national retail chains with web sites, including Sears.com, WalMart.com, Target.com, JCPenney.com, and Buelight.com, grew even late in the season. “That probably indicates online research preceding offline purchases along with pure online purchases,” says Daniel E. Hess, vice president of comScore.

ComScore also notes that the online shopping season ended on Dec. 20, several days later than the season ended last year. That extension indicates increased consumer confidence with online retailers’ ability to fulfill orders in a timely fashion, comScore says.

 

ComScore also reported:

- The highest online retail sales day of the season was Wednesday Dec. 12, with $261.3 million.
- The highest online retail sales weekend of the season was Dec. 15 and 16, with $242 million.
- Compared to the offline season, online holiday shopping kicked in three days later (on Monday Nov. 26) and ended three days earlier (Thursday Dec. 20).
- There was a gradual build throughout the season, with sales peaking in the week ending Dec. 16.
- In November, almost 60% of online consumer dollar sales originated from at-work PCs.
- Visitor traffic to online shipping sites like UPS and FedEx increased toward the end of the season as people showed their comfort with online package tracking services.

ComScore reported the following changes in retail selling by category in Q4 vs. Q3:

Apparel & Accessories 50%
Books 18%
Computer Software -7%
Consumer Electronics,
Computers, Video Games 35%
Event Tickets 6%
Flowers & Gifts 135%
Home & Garden 31%
Toys 235%
Travel -19%
All Other 21%
Total - all categories 11%

Travel spending online reached $329 million in the week that ended Dec. 23, bringing Q4 online travel sales to $4.2 billion. ComScore expects total Q4 travel sales to have declined about 10% from Q3.

 

 

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