Online Fitness, Video Game Spending Outperforms Brick-And-Mortar

January 5, 2009

Online spending in several key categories, including Sports & Fitness and Video Games, increased and outperformed offline spending during the 2008 holiday season, while overall online and offline spending in other home and luxury-goods categories decreased across the board, according to a study by comScore and SpendingPulse.


The study compared comScore e-commerce data with overall (online and offline) consumer spending data published by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse Unit, reported by Retailer Daily, for the period of Nov. 1 – Dec. 24 vs. a year ago.

comScore found that the top growing online product category for the season was Sport & Fitness, which grew 18% vs. 2007. The category continues to benefit from consumers’ focus on health and fitness and higher comfort levels with purchasing more expensive fitness equipment – such as treadmills and elliptical machines – online, the company said.

The second fastest-growing category was Video Games, Consoles & Accessories, which grew 14% on continued demand for popular systems, such as the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Apparel & Accessories, the only other product category with positive online growth, generated higher sales as a result of retailers’ aggressive discounting and promotions, and was helped by unfavorable weather across much of the country.

A comparison with the MasterCard Advisors’ data revealed that the online trends in several product categories outperformed overall consumer spending in those categories, including:

  • Sales of Apparel & Accessories was up four percent online, compared with a 19-21% decline in overall sales of the category.
  • Consumer Electronics declined five percent online, while Home, Garden and Furniture declined 14% online. This compares with a 26% decline in overall sales of Electronics/ Appliances.
  • Jewelry & Watches declined 24% online, compared with a 34% decline in overall sales of Luxury Goods (including Jewelry & Watches).

“For an online holiday shopping season that recorded a disappointing three-percent decline in sales, a positive note is that e-commerce trends outperformed overall consumer spending in several product categories, which is to say that e-commerce continued to capture an increasing share of consumers’ wallet,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman.

Wealthiest Households Spent More Online

comScore also analyzed non-travel e-commerce spending by household income segment for the holiday shopping season, revealing that growth in online spending only occurred (up seven percent) within households making at least $100K in annual income.


At the same time, lower income segments logged significant declines in spending. Those households earning less than $50K per year appear to be the most affected by the current economic environment, with their online spending declining by 13% vs. a year ago, comScore said.

About SpendingPulse: SpendingPulse is an information service provided by MasterCard Advisors, a subsidiary of MasterCard Worldwide. A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and service sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.

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