After tracking retail e-commerce spending throughout the holidays, comScore has now released its final tally for the season (November 1 – December 31), showing retail e-commerce spending up 14% from 2011, to reach almost $43 billion. The data from comScore reveals a robust season, but one that could potentially have been even stronger absent consumer concerns about the fiscal cliff. As comScore explains, the latter part of the season saw some particularly healthy days, but those could not make up for a lull in the weeks immediately following Thanksgiving.
The researchers attribute that lull to a drop in consumer confidence, potentially due to concerns over the fiscal cliff. As a result of those 3 weeks of softer growth (9-12% year-over-year), total spending did not reach the expected $43.4 billion forecast by comScore, which would have equated to more than 16% growth. As comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni noted, “while growth in the mid-teens is still very encouraging – and certainly many times better than brick-and-mortar – it was perhaps a slightly disappointing result given the initial expectation.”
Still, data from Chase Paymentech has a slightly more bullish take. Those results (measuring October 29 – December 25) saw e-commerce sales growth of 15.2%, as transaction volume grew by 24.3%. However, those figures are based on aggregated payment processing data from 50 of Chase Paymentech’s largest US e-commerce merchants, and may not be as reflective of the overall environment.
For the year, 12 days surpassed $1 billion in online retail spending, according to the comScore figures, up from 10 days in 2011. Cyber Monday, the busiest email marketing day of the year, was also the biggest online spending day, at $1.465 billion, ahead of Tuesday December 4 ($1.362 billion) and Green Monday ($1.275 billion). All 12 days that exceeded $1 billion in spending occurred during the holiday period.
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