U.S. online shopping hit US$30.9B in holiday season through Dec. 16; four individual days surpassed US$1B in spending in most recent week: comScore

RESTON, Virginia , December 19, 2011 () – comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 46 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $30.9 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent work week (Dec. 12-16) saw four individual days surpass $1 billion in spending, led by Green Monday (Monday, December 12) with $1.13 billion and Free Shipping Day (Friday, December 16) with $1.07 billion. With the heaviest portion of the season behind us, Cyber Monday appears likely to rank as the heaviest online spending day of the year for the second consecutive season.

More than $1 billion in spending on Free Shipping Day put the exclamation point on what will almost certainly be the heaviest week of the online holiday shopping season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Four individual days surpassed $1 billion in spending this week, with Green Monday leading the way at $1.13 billion. While next week may see another strong day or two at the beginning of the week, it’s clear that we have now reached the crescendo for this season and that spending will begin to slow as we get closer to Christmas, leaving Cyber Monday as the top ranked shopping day for the second year in a row.”

Have Holiday Promotions Been Frontloaded this Year?

Further analysis of retail e-commerce spending trends suggests that holiday deals, such as discounts and free shipping, may have been frontloaded during the earlier portion of the season. We analyzed the year-over-year growth rates for the Mondays and Fridays, which represent the majority of the key promotional days for the season, between Thanksgiving and Free Shipping Day. The results showed significantly higher growth rates during the days nearer to Thanksgiving, with growth rates in the mid-20s, and more modest growth rates in the teens in the middle part of December.

Free Shipping Rates Rebound during Final Online Sales Push

comScore’s analysis of e-commerce transactions including free shipping indicated that following a decline in the second week of December, free shipping rebounded during this most recent week, which concluded with Free Shipping Day. Each week of the online holiday season-to-date has seen free shipping occur on at least half of all transactions. For the five-day week ending with Free Shipping Day, the percentage of transactions with free shipping reached 56 percent, nearly 4 percentage points higher than the corresponding time period last year.

Free shipping is undoubtedly one of the most important incentives for consumers and has become a key driver of online buying activity over the past few years,” added Mr. Fulgoni. “This season has seen a continuation of the trend where an increasing percentage of transactions involve free shipping, as more consumers demand it and more retailers provide it. During the week of Thanksgiving and Cyber Week we saw at least 3 in 5 transactions use free shipping, significantly higher rates than we’ve ever previously observed.”

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.

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