December 5, 2001, 12:00 AM

Holiday online sales are booming, comScore reports

Consumers spent $1.07 billion online in retail purchases last week, 84% higher than average pre-September week and 27% higher than an average week in October, comScore Networks reports.

The online holiday shopping that started around Thanksgiving hasn’t abated, indicating that the web will remain an important retail outlet this Christmas season, comScore Networks Inc.’s latest online shopping numbers show.

For the shopping week that ended Sunday, consumers spent $1.07 billion online in retail purchases, 84% higher than the average pre-September week and 27% higher than an average week in October. Through Sunday, consumers have spent $5.64 billion in online retail shopping in the fourth quarter, comScore’s numbers report.

Apart from the sheer numbers, further evidence that consumers are conducting their holiday shopping online comes from the fact that buying held steady throughout the week, comScore says. “In the average week, we see a peak in sales on Wednesday,” says Dan Hess, comScore vice president. “But last week and especially in hard goods--representing true gift buying--sales remained strong throughout the week. It seems that people usually meet most of their online shopping requirements in the early part of the week, but this week the volume of consumer requirements was so great that it drove sustained buying and actually changed the shape of the daily curve we usually see.”

Online spending for travel reached $418 million last week, up slightly from the pre-September weekly average of $411. Combined retail and travel spending totaled $1.49 billion, up 49% from the pre-September average of $999 million.

ComScore says that of sites showing sales growth last week, the majority of growth came from consumers’ at-work PCs.

ComScore reported that toy sales last week were six times their pre-September weekly average; books sales were up 50%; video games, 400%; consumer electronics, 100%; apparel, 100%.

ComScore tracks the buying habits of a cross section of 1.5 million consumers who allow comScore to monitor their web activity.


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