Nearly $16 billion has been spent during the first 36 days of the 2009 holiday shopping season (since Nov. 1), marking a 3% increase vs. the corresponding days last year, according to new data from comScore, Inc., which also found that 28% of US shoppers say social media has influenced their purchases this year.
The most recent week ending December 6, 2009 reached $4.6 billion in holiday spending, heavier than any individual spending week in 2008 but still below two individual weeks in 2007, comScore said.
The week began with strong weekday spending, led by $887 million on Cyber Monday. It ended on a softer note with negative year-over-year growth rates during the weekend.
“After a strong beginning to the week, we saw growth rates decelerate over the weekend to put this past week of holiday shopping in line with our 3 percent growth forecast for the season,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. “We are anticipating heavy spending for the current week, making it an important determinant for how the holiday season as a whole will perform. Hopefully, we”l see a return to the growth rates we observed during the earlier part of this past week and that the weekend softness was just a temporary hiccup.”
Social Media Influencing Holiday Purchases
In the comScore weekly holiday survey, comScore asks respondents about the influence of social media on their holiday shopping behavior. According to the most recent survey, conducted on Dec. 4-7, 2009, 28% of those who have begun their holiday shopping this season indicated that social media has influenced their purchases.
Of the types of specific social media that consumers say influenced holiday purchases, the most common:
Reading a consumer-generated product review (13% of respondents)
Reading an expert product review (11 %)
Following a fan page on Facebook to take advantage of special offers and deals (7%)
Influence by a friend’s Facebook status update referring to a particular product (6%)
Following a company on Twitter to take advantage of special offers and deals (5%)
A friend’s “tweet” about a product influenced their purchase behavior (3%)
“Social media really appears to be emerging as an important marketing channel this holiday season,” added Fulgoni. “On the one hand, its emergence is being driven by increased consumer adoption of these technologies and the exponential growth in digital word-of-mouth that is occurring over this medium. On the other hand, having a social media marketing strategy makes sense for retailers in this environment because it’s cost-effective and shows an effort to get closer to one’s customers.”