Q1 Online Retail Spending Up 12%

May 11, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Uncategorized

comscore-retail-ecommerce-q1-2011-may11.gifUS online retail (non-travel) spending reached $38 billion during Q1 2011, according to estimates from comScore. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and second consecutive quarter of double-digit (12%) growth rates.

Q1 Sales Dip from Holiday High

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, e-commerce sales fell about 12% from roughly $43.4 billion in Q4 2010. However, comScore historical data shows that e-commerce sales generally peak during the fourth quarter due to holiday spending, and the decline is slightly less severe than the 13% drop experienced between Q4 2009 and Q1 2010.

Online Sales Growth Doubles Offline Sales Growth

comScore analysis indicates that during Q1 2011, the growth in e-commerce spending was roughly double that of offline retail. “While we would expect online buying to dampen slightly if gas prices continue to eat into discretionary spending, it’s clear that e-commerce has become a mainstay in consumer behavior, driven by the attraction of both lower prices and convenience,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Online Sales Up Substantially from Pre-Recession Levels

Online sales in Q1 2011 are substantially higher than those in the first three quarters of 2007, before the start of the global recession. Compared to Q1 2007 online sales of about $30 billion, Q1 2011 online sales are up about 27%. Compared to the holiday-influenced sales of Q4 2007 (the quarter most economists mark as the beginning of the recession, although it did not reach its low point until early 2009), Q1 2011 sales are about 2% lower.

Other Findings

  • The top-performing online product categories were: video games, consoles & accessories; books & magazines; computers/peripherals/PDAs; consumer electronics; and computer software (excl. PC games). Each of the aforementioned categories grew at least 13% in Q1 2011 compared to a year ago.
  • The top 25 online retailers accounted for 67.7% of dollars spent online, the same percentage as last year, and down from a peak of 70% in 2010 as small and mid-sized retailers regain lost market share.
  • The 12% growth in the quarter was a function of an increase in number of buyers (up 7%) and transactions per buyer (up 9%), but accompanied by a slight decline in dollars per transaction (down 4%).

US E-commerce Spending up 9% in 2010

Total US e-commerce spending reached $227.6 billion in 2010, up 9% from the previous year, according to a February 2011 white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” also indicates that on a year-over-year basis, travel e-commerce spending grew 6% to $85.2 billion, while retail (nontravel) e-commerce spending jumped 10% to $142.5 billion for the year.

comScore analysis indicates that depressed consumer discretionary spending going back to the end of 2008 finally gave way to improving consumer sentiment, helping lead the US e-commerce market back to consistent positive growth in 2010.

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