E-Commerce Sales Rise by 5 Percent

Online sales jumped 5% for the holiday season, according to comScore Inc. (SCOR), which attributed the growth to a continued increase in the number of people shopping online.

The Internet researcher said total online sales from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve were about $27 billion. After adjusting for an additional shopping day this year, sales grew by about 3.5%.

The increase followed last year’s weak performance, when online sales fell 3%.

“The season featured a strong start as a result of early retailer promotions and a very strong finish helped by the snow storms that occurred the weekend of Dec. 19-20, retailers’ willingness to offer free shipping later in the season and consumers’ confidence in expedited shipping arriving in time,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Fulgoni said retailers expanded their use of social-network marketing this year and noted larger retailers “significantly outperformed their smaller brethren.”

He added retailers that were able to invest in aggressive marketing and free shipping offers were “clear winners.”

Electronics saw particularly strong sales growth of more than 20%, according to comScore. Jewelry and watches also turned in a strong performance, following a very weak 2008 season.

E-commerce has been one of the bright spots for the retail sector, which continues to face challenges as consumers cut spending amid high unemployment and foreclosure concerns.

    2009 Holiday Season vs. 2008
    Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
    Total U.S. - Home/Work/University Locations
    Source: comScore, Inc.
    ----------------------
                                            Millions ($)
                                            ------------

                                                       Percent
                                       2008     2009    Change
                                       ----     ----   -------
    November 1 -  December 24       $25,845  $27,121        5%
    -------------------------       -------  -------       ---
    Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26)         $288     $318       10%
    --------------------------         ----     ----       ---
    Black Friday (Nov. 27)             $534     $595       11%
    ----------------------             ----     ----       ---
    Cyber Monday (Nov. 30)             $834     $887        5%
    ----------------------             ----     ----       ---
    Green Monday (Dec. 14)             $859     $854       -1%
    ----------------------             ----     ----       ---
    Tuesday, Dec. 15                   $754     $913       21%
    ----------------                   ----     ----       ---
    Weekend of Dec 19 - 20
     (winter storm)                    $677     $767       13%
    ----------------------             ----     ----       ---

    *Individual days and weekends are compared to corresponding
     shopping days in 2008

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