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U.S. Online Christmas Retail Sales to Increase 16% to $61B

Upper Income Spenders Boost Jewelry Sales Growth
Nov 18, 2014 5:10 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Online retail sales for the U.S. Christmas season are expected to increase 16 percent year on year to $61 billion for the months of November and December combined, according to digital metrics firm comScore Inc. The company anticipates that desktop ecommerce will reach $53.2 billion, an increase of 14 percent year on year, while mobile ecommerce will surge  25 percent to $7.9 billion.

During a conference call with analysts to review factors that led to the prediction,  comScore determined that online jewelry sales remain "very strong," meaning year-on-year growth rates of 15 percent or more. In terms of dollar sales online by product segment, jewelry ranked at No. 13. Gian Fulgoni, the chairman of comScore, noted that jewelry sales growth is "probably being driven by the upper income segment." The middle- and lower-income U.S. households, which represent the majority of the population, continue to face, at best, stagnate wages and high rates of unemployment. In addition, while the Christmas retailing season definitely looks bright overall for the well prepared retailers -- comScore noted that 31 percent of U.S. consumers still believe the economy is in very bad shape and that sentiment could influence their shopping habits.

Fulgoni said,  “Although some lasting effects of the great recession still provide some overhang on the economy, many of the latest indicators point toward signs of optimism for consumer spending during the holidays. Negative economic sentiment is at a five-year low, the stock market is near all-time highs and inflation has been kept in check. The one negative is that real wages for many middle-class households  have not grown and, in fact, may have declined slightly. That said, the recent trends we’ve seen in online consumer spending suggest that U.S.  consumers are ready to open their wallets and embrace the spirit of giving this holiday season.”

Ecommerce sales from desktops rose 13 percent year on year to $53.9 billion in the third quarter, while mobile ecommerce jumped 17 percent to  $6.7 billion, according to comScore. 

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Tags: christmas, comScore, ecommerce, gifts, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail sales, season
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