August 8, 2011, 12:54 PM

E-commerce spending jumps 14% in Q2

U.S. online shoppers spent $37.5 billion, comScore says.

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U.S. consumers spent $37.5 billion with online retailers in the second quarter, up 13.6% from $33.0 billion during the same period in 2010, according to figures released today by comScore Inc. The web measurement firm says the new figures represent the seventh consecutive quarter of e-commerce growth, as well as the third straight quarter in which that growth hit double-digit rates. In the first quarter of 2011, e-commerce grew 12% year over year, to $38.0 billion.

The figures do not include travel, auto, auction or large corporate purchases, comScore says. It adds that online retail accounts for nearly 10% of U.S. consumers’ discretionary spending.

“E-commerce’s benefits of convenience and lower prices continue to be the drivers of the shift,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.  “At the same time, we are constantly reminded of an overall macroeconomic situation that is not indicative of a strong recovery. With economic growth remaining soft, the unemployment rate stubbornly high and financial markets in turmoil, consumers are less optimistic today than they have been in preceding quarters, which raises concerns for the future. We believe the third quarter will be an important indicator of which direction this economy is really headed and what that will mean for consumer spending.”

For the second quarter of 2011, growth mainly came from an increase in online buyers, comScore says; the number of buyers increased 16%, with 70% of all Internet users making at least one purchase from an online retailer during the period.

Consumer electronics, not including PC peripherals, held the top spot for e-commerce product categories in the second quarter. Computer hardware, computer software and event tickets also were top category performers. Each of the top product categories posted year-over-year gains of at least 15%.

Meanwhile, the larger retailers continue to experience a decrease in the share of online dollars coming their way. The top 25 online retailers accounted for 66.4% of all online retail spending in the United States in the second quarter, compared with 67.7% for the same period a year ago, and the 69.9% peak set in the third quarter of 2010.

“The top online retailers tend to have a competitive advantage during economic downturns because they can continue to spend on marketing and advertising and offer lower prices than small and mid-sized retailers. As a result, the Top 25 gained market share throughout 2009 and much of 2010,” says Andrew Lipsman, comScore’s vice president of industry analysis.  “As the consumer economy has shown signs of recovery over the past few quarters, small and mid-sized retailers have begun to recover some of that lost market share.

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