December 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

Online retail sales exceed $2 billion for second week in a row

Online sales last week reached $2.11 billion, the second consecutive $2 billion week, reports comScore Networks Inc. The level was 28% above the corresponding week a year ago.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Online sales last week reached $2.11 billion, the second consecutive $2 billion week, reports comScore Networks Inc. The level was 28% above the corresponding week a year ago.

Total retail sales grew 3.9% the same week from the year-ago week, reports ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate. The strong sales made up for a 3.3% decline in year-over-year sales the week before, due to the East Coast snowstorm, ShopperTrak says.

ComScore reports that online retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14 are up 29% over last year to $9.4 billion. Sales since Thanksgiving have totaled $4.8 billion, an increase of 26%, vs. $3.8 billion for the same period in 2002.

ComScore also reports that its Historical Online Buying Index, which measures the relative growth of online spending since 2001 is on track to top 150 for this year`s holiday season. At baseline year 2001, the index was set at 100.

ComScore says the substantial growth of online holiday shopping this year can be attributed to:
• A broader base of buyers, with 151 million consumers now shopping online.
• Rising broadband penetration, with the number of home broadband users increasing more than 30% in the past year to 34% of home users today. Broadband users are at least 50% more likely than narrowband users to complete an online purchase in a given month, comScore reports.
• Purchase frequency and value increase with tenure. ComScore reports that experienced online shoppers increased their spending by an average of 37% from 2001 to 2002, driven primarily by frequency of purchase.
• Consumer willingness to buy a wider array of products online.

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