December 18, 2013, 12:20 PM

Weekend web shopping rises during the holidays

Holiday e-commerce in the U.S. has increased 20.6% so far this season, comScore says. The shortened season and other factors are driving consumers to do more web shopping on the weekends, the web measurement firm says.

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Holiday e-commerce spending has topped $19.22 billion so far this year, a 20.6% increase over the same period last year, comScore says in an estimate released today. Helping to drive that growth is consumers making more online purchases during the weekends than they did last year.

The most recent week, which started on Monday Dec. 9—an online marketing event called Green Monday—included five days when U.S. e-commerce exceeded $1 billion in spending. Dec. 9 led the way with $1.401 billion in online sales, up 9.9% from Green Monday 2012, comScore says.

U.S. online spending has reached $1 billion on 10 days so far this holiday season, the web measurement firm says.

The sales figures include only desktop sales, not mobile commerce, and cover the period from Thanksgiving through this past Sunday. ComScore tracks desktop e-retail holiday sales estimates by drawing on online purchase data from its panel of about 1 million U.S. online shoppers and excludes automobile and auction sales. It uses other means to estimate sales from mobile devices, and reported consumers using smartphones and tablets accounted for 21% of online sales the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and 17% the following Monday, Cyber Monday.

While many retailers and commentators have remarked on the strong growth in mobile sales, another feature of the holiday season has caught the attention of comScore executives.

“One of the most interesting stories we are seeing this holiday season is the explosion in weekend online spending,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “While we have seen solid growth during the days between Monday and Friday, weekend growth rates have surged to nearly four time what we’re seeing during the work weeks.”

For instance, spending on Thanksgiving weekend increased 34.2% compared to last year, to $1.594 billion. The most recent holiday shopping weekend, Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, posted a web sales increase of 41.0% over the corresponding weekend last year, to $1.647 billion.

Fulgoni offers various reasons for the weekend spending increases: Six fewer shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas than was the case last year; more consumers shopping from home to avoid store lines; and consumers more often “touching” products in stores before buying online, a practice commonly called showrooming.


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