A strong Monday for online sales follows a blockbuster weekend

December 11, 2013 12:37 PM

Online shoppers in the United States so far have spent $31.547 billion this holiday season via their personal computers, up 9.3% from the corresponding period last year, comScore Inc. reports today. The figures do not include mobile commerce sales and cover the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 9, compared with Nov. 2 to Dec. 10 last year.

On Monday, an e-commerce marketing event called Green Monday, desktop spending spiked 9.8% over last year, reaching $1.401 billion compared with $1.275 billion in 2012. Green Monday is the Monday that falls on the calendar with at least 10 days left until Christmas.

Monday stands as the third-heaviest U.S. online shopping thus day far of the 2013 holiday shopping season, comScore says. Cyber Monday—traditionally known as the first Monday after Thanksgiving—sparked $1.735 billion worth of e-commerce transactions. The day after Cyber Monday—Tuesday, Dec. 3, which has yet to acquire its own e-commerce moniker—brought in $1.409 billion in e-retail spending, a comScore spokesman says.

The increased spending comes amid a shortened and time-shifted holiday spending season: Thanksgiving this year fell on Nov. 28, compared with Nov. 22 last year, and the 2013 season cuts six shopping days, and a full weekend, from the prime Thanksgiving-to-Christmas shopping period of 2012. Further stirring things, Hanukkah this year began just before Thanksgiving, an early date that no consumer alive today will see again.

By comparison, other big holiday spending periods showed larger year-over-year desktop sales increases, with 18% for Cyber Monday, for instance, and 22% for the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. "The 9% growth to date is to be expected given the oddness of the holiday calendar," says a comScore spokesman. "We’re essentially comparing this year to the same point last year when we were two weeks, not one, past Thanksgiving. In short, no reason for concern. We’re actually seeing better than needed growth rates during the post-Thanksgiving period to ensure that we hit our 14% growth forecast for the season."

The season's odd timing is affecting consumer behavior, says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “It would appear that the abbreviated calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas is compelling shoppers to complete more of their online buying during the weekends, with this most recent weekend boasting an exceptional 71% gain from last year, following on the heels of last weekend’s 34% jump,” he says.

The weekend of Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 brought in $1.663 billion in U.S. e-commerce sales, comScore says. The previous weekend brought in $1.594 billion worth of sales.

“The weekend surges we’re seeing may be attributable to the effects of showrooming, with the in-store shopping experience increasingly getting disrupted by comparison shopping on mobile phones, leading to more conversions online after leaving the store,” Fulgoni says. “Of course, it’s also likely that many consumers realize the holiday spending clock is ticking and are urgently buying their gifts whenever they have time. And that, in turn, works to the benefit of e-commerce.”

ComScore tracks desktop e-retail holiday sales estimates by drawing on online purchase data from its panel of about 1 million U.S. online shoppers and excludes automobile and auction sales.





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