Computer hardware ranks as the top-growing online product category for the holiday season to date with a 25% increase from last year, according to new comScore data. comScore analysis indicates purchases of handheld devices, such as Apple iPads, e-readers and laptop computers, drove much of the growth.
In addition, comScore data shows that competitive pricing on flat panel TVs continues to drive growth in consumer electronics, which grew 22% during November 1 – December 17, 2010 from the equivalent period in 2009 to rank as the second fastest-growing category. Books & magazines (up 21%), computer software excluding PC games (up 16%) and toys (up 15%) rounded out the top five gaining categories.
Consumers Take Advantage of Free Shipping
comScore’s analysis of e-commerce transactions including free shipping indicates that consumers took advantage of the offer later into the season this year than last year, in part due to Free Shipping Day on Friday, Dec. 17 (see below).
Each of the past five weeks has seen free shipping on at least half of transactions, while that threshold was reached only once during the 2009 season (the equivalent week of Nov. 21, 2010). For the five-day week ending with Free Shipping Day, the percentage of transactions with free shipping reached 52.7%, almost 30% higher than the corresponding time period last year, the most sizeable gap observed this season.
Online Holiday Spending Nears $28B
For the first 47 days of the holiday season-to-date, almost $27.5 billion has been spent online, marking a 12% increase from $24.5 billion during the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (ending Dec. 17) reached $5.15 billion in spending, an increase of 14% from $4.6 billion the corresponding week last year.
Four individual days during the 2010 holiday season have surpassed $900 million in online sales, led by Green Monday (Monday, December 13) with $954 million and Free Shipping Day (Friday, December 17) with $942 million. Free Shipping Day achieved a 61% increase from $586 million the corresponding shopping day last year, highlighting the appeal and success of the promotion in which more than 1,500 merchants offered free shipping.
8 in 10 Consumers Still Holiday Shopping
Eighty-four percent of US consumers say they have not yet wrapped up their holiday shopping, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Survey data indicates holiday shoppers will be most generous with their children this holiday season, planning to spend $341 on average, followed by their spouse/significant other ($189 on average). Interestingly, mothers ($72 on average) will fare better than fathers ($45 on average). In addition, 31% of consumers plan to buy their pet animal a gift, spending $18 on average.