Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
U.S. consumers spent more than $46.5 billion during the holiday season, comScore says in an estimate that does not include mobile commerce. The shorter holiday season in 2013 served to make e-commerce sales softer than the firm had anticipated.
U.S. consumers purchasing via computers spent at least $46.545 billion with online retailers this holiday season, up nearly 10.1% from $42.286 billion last year, comScore Inc. says today.
The spending figures do not include purchases consumers made using tablet computers or smartphones. "We are pretty confident that mobile will add about two percentage points to the total growth rate, so if you account for that component then total digital commerce should see an increase of about 12%," says a comScore spokesman this afternoon.
The 2013 spending sets a record for holiday e-commerce in the United States, comScore says. But that year-over-year growth falls short of the web measurement firm’s 14% growth projection made before holiday shopping kicked off in earnest last year.
“Although the 2013 holiday season fell short of our initial forecast, it still performed very well in certain regards,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Achieving a double-digit growth rate while significantly outperforming the growth of brick-and-mortar retail by a factor of at least two is noteworthy, particularly considering the inherent challenges in this unusual holiday season.”
Fulgoni says the “compressed” holiday season helped to make sales softer than expected. There were six fewer shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2013 than in 2012.
Consumers “made up for it to some extent by spending significantly more online on the weekends, but so many fewer workdays provided a headwind for the season that ultimately proved very challenging to overcome,” he says. “That said, it should also be noted that many consumers continue to be challenged economically, which forced retailers to offer large price discounts in an attempt to stimulate demand. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of reducing total dollar sales since consumers could buy more for less.”
The heaviest online shopping days during the 2013 holiday shopping season were, according to comScore:
• Monday, Dec. 2, also known as Cyber Monday, with $1.735 billion worth of purchases
• Tuesday, Dec. 3, $1.410 billion
• Monday, Dec. 9, also known as Green Monday, $1.401 billion
• Thursday, Dec. 12, $1.317 billion
•Friday, Nov. 29, Black Friday, $1.199 billion
• Wednesday, Dec. 4, $1.172 billion
• Wednesday, Dec. 11, $1.161 billion
• Tuesday, Dec. 10, $1.138 billion
• Friday, Dec. 13, $1.021 billion
• Thursday, Dec. 5, $1.014 billion
ComScore also listed the five product categories with the largest year-over-year sales gains:
• Apparel and accessories, 13%
• Consumer electronics, 13%
• Computer hardware, 13%
• Toys and hobbies, 13%
• Video game consoles and accessories, 12%
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. ComScore defines the 2013 holiday shopping season as running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.
Reports from other e-commerce measurement firms support the idea that mobile commerce played a significant role on holiday sales in 2013. IBM Corp., for instance, says that in the fourth quarter 2013, smartphones and tablets accounted for almost 35% of online traffic, up 40% from Q4 2012, and 16.6% of online sales, up 46% year over year. Over the last weekend before Christmas, IBM says that online sales, including both mobile and desktop sales, increased 37% over the same days, versus the comparable weekend a year ago. IBM bases its estimate on data from about 800 IBM clients the company includes in its IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Survey.