January 7, 2002, 12:00 AM

Online spending in last two months hit $13.8 billion, says eCommerce Pulse

Consumers spent $13.8 billion online during the 2001 holiday shopping season, says the latest eSpending report from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

American consumers spent $13.8 billion online during the 2001 holiday shopping season, says the eSpending report released today by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings. Online spending grew 15% this year from last year’s $12 billion. Consumers spent 13% of their holiday shopping budgets online, the report says.

The figures are based on eCommercePulse, a monthly survey of Internet users by Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings. Online spending in December 2001 increased 41% as compared to November 2001.

"Online holiday spending continued its growth, despite pressures from the slowing U.S. economy. However, the 15% increase is more modest than the higher gains experienced in seasons past," said Lori Iventosch-James, director of ecommerce research at Harris Interactive.

Holiday spending during the last two weeks in November and the first two weeks in December comprised 65% of the season`s total, marking more than $9 billion in revenue. The number of users buying online peaked the first week of December, as more than one in five Internet users made a purchase online. Dollar volume peaked during the second week of December.

"Unlike traditional retailers who have the luxury of time and are able to sell to shoppers till the very last minute, e-commerce sites must move their products within a much shorter shopping season," Iventosch-James says. "The steady stream of special sales and free shipping offers during the peak online shopping weeks attracted consumers and helped e-retailers achieve higher revenue growth."

Here are the weekly retail sales for November and December as reported by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings:
Week ending:
Nov. 9: $1.069 billion
Nov. 16: $857 million
Nov. 23: $2.041 billion
Nov. 30: $1.74 billion
Dec. 7: $2.593 billion
Dec. 14: $2.629 billion
Dec. 21: $1.615 billion
Dec. 28: $1.22 billion

The survey says 86% of online shoppers surveyed said they were satisfied with their experience; 24% said they had a better experience shopping on the web this season compared to last year.

The eSpending Report by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings is based on a weekly national survey of 500 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris Interactive`s multimillion-member panel of Internet users.

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