Online Holiday Spending May Not Meet Expectations

Santa Holiday Shopping
Santa Holiday Shopping

Thanks to a record Cyber Monday online shopping total of $1.46 billion, a 32% jump in Thanksgiving Day spending, and a 28% jump in online Black Friday spending, total U.S. online holiday shopping for the 32 days since November 1st has jumped 14% year-over-year to $21.4 billion.

Research firm comScore Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) also reports that more than 128 million online buyers have spent an average of $165.90 so far this season. Those numbers are up 9% and 5%, respectively. The amount spent per transaction is up just 1%, but shoppers are making 4% more transactions.

All the signals are not great, however. According to comScore's chairman:

While Cyber Monday was a high point for holiday e-commerce spending and Cyber Week saw several strong spending days, there was a clear softening in the growth rate during the back half of the week. It is likely that, to some extent, holiday spending was pulled forward to the Thanksgiving-Black Friday period given the heightened promotional activity around that time. And some of the softening is a natural post-Cyber Monday lull that we often experience, an effect that may be somewhat more pronounced this year given the additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

According to comScore, total U.S. online shopping this holiday season is expected to reach $43.4 billion. Less than half that total has been achieved so far, and well more than half of the shopping days are behind us. The last big promotional day left for online merchants is Monday, December 17th, known as Free Shipping Day. Spending typically trails off after that date. Online spending totaled $37.2 billion in 2011.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Internet, Research, Retail Tagged: featured, SCOR