May 13, 2014, 12:55 PM

E-retail picks up speed in Q1

Consumer online shopping on personal computers increased 12% year over year in the first quarter, after 11% growth in the fourth quarter, comScore reports. Mobile shopping grew 23%.

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Consumers picked up their online shopping a bit in the first quarter of 2014, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is positive, comScore Inc. reports today.

Online shopping via desktop computers increased 12% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, the web measurement company reports. Spending via smartphones and tablets increased 23% to $7.3 billion. Total online retail purchases amounted to $63.4 billion in Q1; because of changes in how comScore tracks consumer purchasing it did not provide a comparison of total spending in Q1 2014 to the prior-year quarter.

"Q1 e-commerce and m-commerce spending growth have seen a modest acceleration versus the fourth quarter, which is a positive sign in light of overall softness in consumer discretionary spending across the broader U.S. economy during the early part of the year," says comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. "As we look ahead to the remainder of 2014, we hope that signs of improved consumer sentiment and a strengthening job market will help further bolster digital commerce. In addition, with several key consumer tech product upgrade cycles and new product introductions expected in the back of the year, there would appear to be continued momentum for the market throughout the year barring any unforeseen economic troubles."

ComScore also reported today:

  • The top-performing online product categories in the first quarter were apparel and accessories, consumer packaged goods, sports and fitness, digital content and subscriptions, and home and garden. Sales in each of those categories increased at least 13% year over year.
  • Online shopping on PCs accounted for 11.7% of consumers’ discretionary spending in the first quarter, the highest first quarter share that comScore has observed.
  • Smartphones accounted for 62% of mobile purchases and tablets 38%.
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