August 8, 2013, 2:48 PM

E-retail rises 16% in the second quarter

Shoppers using mobile devices increased spending 24%, comScore says.

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Shoppers in the United States upped their e-commerce spending by about 15.5% year over year in the second quarter, according to new figures from comScore Inc.

The web measurement firm said today that U.S. online spending hit about $49.84 billion in the second quarter, up from nearly $43.15 billion in the second quarter of 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, e-commerce spending increased 13% year over year, comScore reported in May, noting at the time that the increases in tax deductions that took effect in January likely slowed online sales growth.

Consumers using smartphone and tablet increased their spending by 24% year over year, comScore says, providing mobile commerce figures for the second time after first doing so in the first quarter report. That translates to $4.7 billion in spending, comScore says.

By including purchases consumers make on tablets and smartphones this year comScore is providing a more accurate picture of total online sales. Given that comScore says the $4.7 billion in mobile purchases in the second quarter of this year represents a 24% increase from the same period last year that suggests mobile sales in Q2 2012 were about $3.8 billion. Adding those figures to comScore’s figures for sales from PCs, total online sales, by Internet Retailer’s estimate, increased 16.2% to $54.54 billion in the second quarter of this year from $46.95 billion in the same period a year ago.

The second quarter figures marks the 15th consecutive positive quarter of e-retail growth, comScore says, and the 11th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

"Increased spending growth for the quarter not only reflects the long term share shift towards digital commerce, but also the near-term signals of sustained improvement in consumer sentiment,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.  “This strength is particularly significant since the second quarter tends to be seasonally lighter for e-commerce, and, as such, represents a positive indicator for the back half of the year.”

Five product categories each registered year-over-year sales increases of 19% or more in the second quarter: apparel and accessories, digital content and subscriptions, sport and fitness, consumer packaged goods and home and garden, comScore says.

Apparel and accessories had the highest-grossing mobile commerce sales take in the second quarter, at $700 million, followed by computer hardware and digital content and subscriptions, though no figures were provided for those categories.

ComScore plans to talk more about its Q2 figures on Tuesday during a webinar. The U.S. Department of Commerce is set to releases its Q2 e-commerce figures on Aug. 15.

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