Report: December Opens with $2.6B in Online Sales

With the holidays drawing nearer, consumers stepped up their online shopping during the first week of December, spending roughly US$2.6 billion, according to data released Monday by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings.

The figure represented a 91 percent spike from the $1.4 billion dropped by buyers during an average week in November, the report said.

More importantly, the research firms said this surge stands as a “criticalfirst sign” that online spending in December will make greater headway thanthe modest 10 percent year-over-year growth registered in November.

Stretch Run

On a cautionary note, the report said that it was imperative for Internet retailers — which have been working especially hard this holiday season to beef up consumer spending levels in the midst of an economic downturn — that this momentum continue unabated.

“For a successful December, consumers will need to maintain these aggressivespending levels for the next two weeks,” said NetRatings analyticalservices vice president Sean Kaldor.

Better Late …

All indications are that the upturn is likely to continue, however. Roughly 39 percent of Internet buyers told the research firms that they were still in the middle of completing their online holiday shopping.

Other shoppers said they planned to buy right down to the wire, with 15 percent of those interviewed reporting that they have yet to begin their online holiday purchasing.

The remaining 46 percent said they have finished their shopping for the season.

Shopping Splurges

The report found that for the week ending December 7th, average consumer spending climbed more than six-fold, from $14 the previous week to $91.

Moreover, approximately 20 percent of online consumers surveyed made an online purchase during the period — the highest level registered so far this season. The figure represented a slight gain from the 18 percent who reported doing so the previous week.

Be Happy

On another positive note for online retailers, the research firm found that consumers reported increased levels of satisfaction with their e-tail purchasing experience, with 59 percent of those surveyed saying they were very or somewhat pleased with their transactions.

“The majority of shoppers are finding their online shopping experience to bequite satisfactory, with few reports of problems or failures, said HarrisInteractive e-commerce research director Lori Iventosch-James. “This isanother sign that online shopping will continue to grow as a desirablealternative to going to the malls.”

To compile data for their eSpending report, the research groups interviewed500 online shoppers.

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