For the first 21 days of the November-December 2010 holiday season, US consumers have spent $9.01 billion online, marking a 13% increase from the corresponding days last year, according to data from comScore.
Online Holiday Spending Expected to Hit $32B
So far, online holiday shopping spending totals are up significantly from the $7.95 billion US consumers spent during the same period in 2009. The official comScore 2010 holiday season forecast is that online retail spending for the November – December 2010 holiday period will reach $32.4 billion, representing an 11% gain from $29.1 billion during November-December 2009. This strong growth rate also represents an improvement compared to last season’s 4% online spending increase from 2008.
Online holiday spending behavior to date is a continuation of the pattern set during the first 10 months of this year. During January-October 2010, US consumers spent $109.9 billion online, up 9% from $100.7 billion spent online between January and October 2009.
Free Shipping Important to Consumers
According to a comScore survey conducted November 11-15, 2010, one of the more prominent promotions for online purchases is free shipping. When asked how important free shipping is for making an online purchase this holiday season, more than three-quarters (77%) of consumers indicated it was important. Recent comScore behavioral data indicated that 41 percent of retail e-commerce purchases in Q3 2010 included free shipping.
In addition, consumers indicated that they believe retailers’ promotional activity for the early part of the season has increased in relation to last year. Specifically, 36% of respondents indicated that they are seeing more discounts, sales and promotions compared to last year, while just 11% said there were fewer.
2010 Holiday Emails Outpace Past Two Years
As of October 29, 2010, 57% of top online retailers had begun their holiday email marketing campaigns, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. Prior to the beginning of October 2010, first references to the holidays by retail email marketers were running ahead of both 2008 and 2009 levels.
But during the first weeks of October, first mentions slowed to below the levels seen in 2008, when retailers were urgent to kick off the holiday season before the economy got any worse. However, during the last full week of the month, first references to the holiday season surged and now stand back slightly ahead of 2009 and 2008.