December 12, 2012, 12:41 PM

No Monday blues for online retailers

Dec. 10 is the third-heaviest online sales day of the season, comScore says.

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U.S. consumers spent $1.28 billion online on Monday, a 13.3% jump from $1.13 billion on the corresponding Monday a year earlier, making it the third-heaviest online shopping day of the year, web measurement firm comScore Inc. reported today. The biggest online shopping day so far was the Monday after Thanksgiving, often called Cyber Monday, when e-retailers racked up $1.47 billion in sales, comScore says. Last Tuesday, Dec. 4, was second at $1.36 billion.

Some marketers dubbed this past Monday, which was the second Monday in December, Green Monday to attract consumer attention to what is typically one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. That’s because it is a date when consumers still feel secure they can order online and receive their holiday gifts in time for Christmas.

However, as consumers have gained confidence in on-time shipment delivery, there is perhaps less urgency than there once was to make those final purchases at least two weeks in advance of Christmas Day, says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. That means there are likely to be several more strong days for online sales. “What we’ve seen over the past few years is a tendency for heavy spending to continue late into the week of Green Monday and right up until Free Shipping Day, which this year falls on Dec. 17,” he says.

Looking at the holiday shopping period to day, comScore reports that online U.S. shoppers spent $29.26 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 10, up 12.9% over the same time period last year.

ComScore tracks the online purchasing behavior of 1 million U.S. consumers for its projections.

ComScore found that several factors influenced the growth in spending on this past Monday. For instance, 9.0 million U.S. consumers made an online purchase, up nearly 5% from 8.6 million a year earlier. Moreover, those consumers who made a purchase spent, on average, $140.95, a 6.6% jump from $132.20 in 2011. And they also increased their number of transactions to 1.76 per buyer from 1.68 a year earlier. This likely reflects consumers’ willingness to purchase at a variety of retailers to take advantage of competitive deals and discounts, says comScore.

Meanwhile, Chase Paymentech, a payments processor for web and store retailers, said in its Chase Pulse report that online sales grew 10.7% year-over-year on Green Monday. It adds that the increase was mainly driven by merchant deals and discounts on popular gift items.

Overall sales volume for the week beginning Dec. 3 grew 7.1%  compared with the same week last year, a little lower than the 12.2% year-over-year holiday season spending growth thus far for the year.  Transaction volume for the week increased 9.3% over last year, much lower than the 22.5% year-over-year transaction growth thus far for the festive season. Those estimates are based on sales data from 50 of Chase Paymentech's largest U.S. e-commerce merchants.

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