December 23, 2005, 12:00 AM

Holiday online shopping up 25%, two researchers report

The 2005 holiday shopping season wrapped up as strongly as it began. Online spending was up 24%, comScore reports, and 25%, says the Holiday eSpending Report.


The 2005 holiday shopping season wrapped up as strongly as it began. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 21, consumers spent $17.48 billion online, up 24% from $14 billion in the same period last year, comScore Networks Inc. reports.

The Goldman, Sachs & Co., Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive Holiday eSpending Report showed growth of the same magnitude-25%-but different dollars: Spending reached $25 billion.

ComScore also reports that the New York City transit strike had an immediate and measurable effect on online shopping-the share of online spending generated by New York area consumers rose from 3.4% to 4.4% during the first two days of the strike.

ComScore projects that online retail spending for November and December will top out at $19 million, 24% over last year. For the year, it will reach $82.7 billion, up 24% from $66.5 billion in 2004.

The eSpending Report says that 54% of consumers had finished their online shopping by Dec. 16 and 10% hadn’t begun.

“In recent years, consumers shop online later and later in the holiday season, making the week prior to the holidays the peak in online holiday shopping,” says Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen/NetRatings. “With guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24th and additional discounts and incentives, online retailers continue to court shoppers until late in the season, looking to capture sales before shoppers turn to stores on Friday and Saturday for last minute purchases.”

The most popular category, according to the eSpending Report, is apparel/clothing, which will account for 17% of all online revenue--$4.68 billion-by the end of the shopping season.

Computer hardware/peripherals and consumer electronics categories are next at 14% each--$3.7 billion-followed by books at 10%--$2.6 billion-and toys/video games at 7%--$1.9 billion.

Last week, the Holiday eSpending Report asked more than 1,000 consumers which search engine or shopping portal they used to locate online stores in the past week. 45.2% went directly to an online retailer by typing its URL, 40.5% used Google and 20.9% used Yahoo.

The eSpending Report also asked consumers if they faced any problems during the past week`s online shopping. 55% said their online shopping excursions were trouble free. The three top problems online shoppers faced were out of stock products (cited by 22%), they could not locate a sought after item (18%) or shipping costs were excessive (16%).



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