November 24, 2010

Online Holiday Sales Expected To Rise

ComScore said on Tuesday that online sales this holiday are expected to jump 11 percent over last year, marking the second time the analytics firm has raised its closely watched view.

The increased sales comes as retailers ready for the holiday shoppers to head to stores or search for deals on their computers.

ComScore said that the new spending outlook should bring total holiday e-commerce spending to $32.4 billion.

The Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, also known as Cyber Monday, is considered the start of the online shopping season.  However, analysts say that brick-and-mortar retailers like Wal-Mart Store Inc. are focused on early deals at their online units, while Internet giant Amazon.com has already gained market share this season.

ComScore told Reuters a week ago that it was raising its forecast from an earlier projected gain of 7 percent to a new projection of 9 percent.  It said that the outlook might be raised further.

ComScore said that the new outlook announced Tuesday is based on the first 21 days of the November and December season, in which $9.01 billion has already been spent, making a 13 percent increase over the year-ago period.

ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said the holiday e-commerce season had "gotten off to an extremely positive start."

"Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last," Fulgoni said in a statement.

He said that the jump in sales is due to deep discounts that started earlier than in 2009, when U.S. e-commerce sales rose 4 percent during the two-month holiday period.

According to comScore, online sales make up about 7 percent of the overall retail pie while brick-and-mortar retailers are expecting a far less sales outlook this year.

The National Retail Federation expects 2010 holiday retail sales to rise 2.3 percent this year to $447.1 billion.


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