Online sales in the fourth quarter this year will reach $13.8 billion, up 27% over Q4 sales last year, comScore Networks Inc. is projecting. The year-to-year growth is similar to what comScore says has been happening all year--through Aug. 18, online retailer sales were up 28% over last year’s sales through Aug. 17.
ComScore expects the online equivalent of Black Friday--the day after Thanksgiving that signals the start of the holiday shopping season--to occur on Monday, Dec. 2, as shoppers return to work and high-speed Internet connections in a gift-buying mood. ComScore data have consistently shown that online sales made using workplace computers are about twice the level on home computers.
Because of the late date of Thanksgiving this year, comScore expects retailers to experience bigger spikes in daily sales than they have experienced in the past and for consumers to opt for more ordering online and picking up in the store. ComScore expects the online shopping season to end on Dec. 20 or 21--the Friday or Saturday before Christmas.
ComScore expects the peak day this year to result in $350 million in sales. Last year’s peak date--Dec. 12--had $262 million in sales.
ComScore also expects pure-play dot-com retailers to set the pace in pricing and shipping costs. "With limited offline infrastructure or offline partnerships, pure-play retailers can be expected to compete even more aggressively with shipping and pricing promotions," comScore says.