For the five days beginning with December 1 (Cyber Monday), the kick-off to the heaviest part of the online shopping season, sales totaled $3.74 billion, up 9% versus the same period a year ago, according to comScore, reports Retailer Daily.
Moreover, holiday e-commerce sales finally caught up to last year’s levels as two workdays in the past week surpassed $800 million in online spending: Monday, December 1 (Cyber Monday) with $846 million, and Tuesday, December 2, with $823 million.
For the holiday season through December 5 (the first 35 days of the November-December 2008 holiday season), $14.92 billion has been spent online, essentially the same level as the corresponding days last year, comScore said.
“The online holiday shopping season has picked up noticeably since Thanksgiving as consumers have given in to the holiday spirit–and very attractive retailer discounts,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Particularly encouraging is the growth of 9% in online sales that has occurred since Cyber Monday.
“While this growth is certainly a positive development in this tough retail season, it also needs to be put into perspective. With the compressed time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year–five days shorter than last year–we need to see continued strong growth during the critical weeks between today and Christmas if this year’s shopping season is to at least match that of last year.”
Online Shoppers Spent Less per Transaction
Cyber Monday 2008 revenue among top online retailers was up less than 1% from last year, although total transactions were up 14% year over year, according to Chase Paymentech’s Cyber Holiday Pulse Index (via the New York Times).
That’s because the average purchase value was down 12%, or $7.19, from last year: from $58.81 on Cyber Monday 2007 to $51.62 this Cyber Monday, “reflecting deeper discounts than usual, thriftier shoppers, or both,” the Times writes.
Chase’s index surveys 25 of the top 150 retailers on its internet payment processing network.
Top-Performing Retail Categories
Since Cyber Monday (i.e., from December 1 through December 5), the fastest-growing product categories were Sport & Fitness (up 35%) and Consumer Electronics (up 24%).
Apparel & Accessories, the second-largest retail category in terms of dollar sales (after Computer Hardware) during this period, also experienced strong gains (up 16%).
The softest retail categories include Music, Movies & Videos (down 24%) and Jewelry & Watches (down 22%).
Top Retailer Sites’ Visitors
During the five-day period since Cyber Monday, traffic to the retail site category is up 2% versus year ago, with many sites drawing a substantial number of visitors:
- eBay topped the list with 36 million unique visitors.
- Three of the top 10 retailer sites’ visitor numbers were up vs. a year ago: Amazon Sites (up 10%), Wal-Mart (up 7%), and Apple Inc. (up 29%).
comScore’s Summary of 2008 Holiday Online Retail Spending