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U.S. Online Seasonal Retail Sales +10% to $47B

Jan 8, 2014 1:49 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Online U.S. retail sales for the whole Christmas season, which comScore Inc. defined as ranging from November 1 through December 31, rose 10 percent year on year to $46.55 billion. The industry leader in ecommerce tracking had  predicted a sales gain of 14 percent to $48 billion.

“Although the 2013 holiday season fell short of our initial forecast, it still performed very well in certain regards,” said comScore's chairman, Gian Fulgoni. “Achieving a double-digit growth rate, while significantly outperforming the growth of brick-and-mortar retail by a factor of at least two is noteworthy, particularly considering the inherent challenges in this unusual holiday season.”

Fulgoni surmised that spending softness, relative to expectations, was mainly the result of a compressed seasonal calendar between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, which meant consumers did not have the same opportunity to buy this year. ''They made up for it to some extent by spending significantly more online on the weekends, but so many fewer workdays provided a headwind for the season that ultimately proved very challenging to overcome. That said, it should also be noted that many consumers continue to be challenged economically, which forced retailers to offer large price discounts in an attempt to stimulate demand. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of reducing total dollar sales since consumers could buy more for less,'' Fulgoni said.

While the jewelry category made the top-gaining product sectors during one week of the Christmas season, ultimately, the top performers for the whole period were apparel and accessories, consumer electronics, computer hardware, toys and hobbies and video games and accessories, all of which experienced sales increases of 12 to 13 percent, according to comScore.

Overall, there were 10 individual spending days that surpass $1 billion in retail sales from  desktop computers during the Christmas season, led by Cyber Monday with a record $1.735 billion.

Tags: apparel, christmas, comScore, ecommerce, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, online sales, retail
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