Online Holiday Sales Up 19 Percent

E-commerce executives have good reason to smile this holiday season. A study recently conducted by comScore Networks, an Internet metrics provider, reveals that in the final shopping week before the Christmas holiday consumer online spending increased 19 percent, to $1.9 billion over the previous year. The study was based on monitored purchase behavior of 1.5 million customers at more than 50,000 e-commerce sites, says comScore. "Following a robust holiday shopping season, fueled by aggressive and early promotions, online consumer sales are finally winding down," Michelle David Adams, comScore vice president said in a statement. "While growth rates slowed somewhat more than expected in the most recent week, overall fourth-quarter growth rates are impressive, and sales are on track to come within close range of comScore's original fourth-quarter nontravel forecast of $13.8 billion. With nearly two weeks still remaining in the quarter, nontravel spending has already reached $12.1 billion." Cumulative consumer online sales for the period from November 1 through December 20, 2002, reached $12.6 billion, up 29 percent versus the same period last year, according to comScore data. Nontravel sales increased 23 percent versus a year ago, to $8.5 billion, while online travel sales increased 51 percent, to $4.1 billion, comScore says. ComScore says home and garden ranks as the fastest growing major merchandise category during the period, increasing 78 percent over last year to $555 million. Furniture and appliances sales increased 75 percent, to $171 million, while toy sales increased 61 percent, to $396 million. ComScore also says that computer hardware was the highest selling category by dollar amount, with $1.6 billion in online sales, but actually saw a 1 percent drop in total sales versus the previous year. ComScore attributes the drop to the "overall softness of the tech sector."
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