July 2, 2003, 12:00 AM

Q2 online sales grow 15% over year ago, while orders grow 31%

In the second quarter, consumers spent $11.61 billion online, up 15% from $10.11 billion in Q2 last year, says the latest spending report from BizRate. Consumers placed 104.86 million orders, up 31% from 80.06 million in Q2 last year.

The growth rate in online retail buying in the second quarter was down--or maybe not. BizRate.com Inc. reports that dollars spent online at retail sites in Q2 were up 15% from Q2 last year, which would indicate slowing growth. At the same time, however, orders were up 31%, which is higher growth than almost any quarter in the last few years.

“This go-online-but-spend-less-per-order phenomenon is symptomatic of the downward pressure of price competition on the web, and the advent of smaller transactions taking place online,” said Chuck Davis, president and CEO of BizRate.com. “Shoppers are using the online channel to price comparison shop and save money, and we are beginning to see the effects.”

In the second quarter, consumers spent $11.61 billion online, up 15% from $10.11 billion in Q2 last year. In last year’s Q2, online sales grew 28% from Q2 2001. Consumers placed 104.86 million orders, up 31% from 80.06 million in Q2 last year. The average order declined 12% to $111 from $126.

In a BizRate.com Online Research Value Panel in May, 54% of online shoppers said they were more deal-centric than last year when they shopped online.

Davis says the lower average order may be the result of the penetration of broadband. “As broadband penetration continues, people are adopting a ‘NOW’ attitude to shopping online, meaning they will purchase small one-off buys instead of waiting to fill an entire shopping cart full of goods,” he says.

The top categories in terms of sales volume in Q2 were computer hardware, at $2.24 billion, electronics, at $1.96 billion, and entertainment, at $1.90 billion. The strongest growth in Q2 came from Gifts & Flowers, up 17.9%, Toys & Video Games, up 10.6%, and Office Supplies up 8.6%.

BizRate reported the following online sales by month, with growth over same month a year ago:
April: $3.77 billion, 11%
May: $3.98 billion, 15%
June: $3.86 billion, 19%.

 

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