The newly released annual look at the digital world from online and mobile measurement firm comScore makes it quite clear that retailers better be ...
The first 30 days of the holiday season rung up $20.4 billion in web sales.
Holiday online sales are off to a record-breaking start this year, with four billion-dollar-plus days in the last two weeks of November, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc.
From Saturday, November 3, through Sunday, Dec. 2, shoppers in the United States spent $20.38 billion online, up 15% from the comparable period last year, comScore says.
As usual, the pace picked up over the Thanksgiving weekend, which led to a string of billion-dollar days the following week. Sales shot up 32% on Thanksgiving Day to $633 million, from $479 million a year ago, then continued to grow 28% year over year on Black Friday, to $1.04 billion from $816 million.
The pace picked up even more the following week, as web sales on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, rose 17% year over year to $1.47 billion, followed by Tuesday with $1.26 billion and Wednesday, $1.11 billion, comScore says. U.S. online shoppers spent at least $1 billion on 10 days during the 2011 holiday shopping season.
Digital content and subscriptions saw the sharpest increase in sales among product categories, rising 25% year over year, followed by toys, 21%; consumer packaged goods, 18%; consumer electronics, 17%, and video game consoles and accessories, 16%, according to comScore.
Chase Paymentech, a payments processor for web and store retailers, said in its Chase Pulse report that online sales grew nearly 31% year over year for the three-day period from Saturday, Nov. 24, through Cyber Monday, Nov. 26.
Retailers liberally offered free shipping around Thanksgiving, and 57% of orders for the week ended Nov. 25—the Sunday after Thanksgiving—included free shipping, comScore says. Many retailers require a minimum purchase to get free shipping, and the average order value for items that shipped free that week was $137 versus $91 when the consumer paid for delivery.
"Any way you look at the data, there's no doubt that web retailers had a strong Thanksgiving weekend, which culminated in a very strong Cyber Monday with web sales up nearly 22% over last year,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst for e-business at Forrester Research Inc.
She adds, however, that lower average ticket values and a higher number of transactions means that retailers had a lot of free shipping offers with low minimum order thresholds. “The biggest challenge at this point,” Mulpuru says, “is for retailers to keep the momentum going through December as a lot of consumers are probably ‘shopped out’ for the next couple of weeks."