September 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

Online`s upward bound

Retail’s overall growth rate hasn’t exactly been skyrocketing. The National Retail Federation estimates total retail sales grew 7% to $581.9 billion in the second quarter of 2006 compared with $541.7 billion during the same period last year. Online retail, however, presents a very different picture.

Retail’s overall growth rate hasn’t exactly been skyrocketing. The National Retail Federation estimates total retail sales grew 7.8% to $524.7 billion in the first quarter of 2006 compared with $486.8 billion in Q1 2005, and 7% to $581.9 billion in the second quarter of 2006 compared with $541.7 billion during the same period last year.

Online retail, however, presents a very different picture, ringing up $46.1 billion during the first half of this year, a 24.6% increase over the first half of 2005, according to comScore Networks Inc. Web sales represent 4% of the $1.1 trillion total retail sales for the first half of 2006. The research firm expects Internet sales to keep climbing, projecting total 2006 e-commerce sales of $102 billion, surpassing $100 billion for the first time.

“Online consumer spending remains strong,” says comScore chairman and co-founder Gian Fulgoni. “Growth in non-travel online spending continues at a rate of 25% year over year, which suggests that consumers’ online purchase behavior has been relatively unaffected by the general economic trends. This news certainly bodes well for online retailers for the upcoming holiday season.”

In the first half of 2006, the office supplies category led growth in online retail sales with a year-over-year increase of 54%, followed by computer software at 39% and sports and fitness merchandise at 38%, according to comScore.

 

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