Digital tracker comScore yesterday (Wednesday) reported that retail e-commerce spending for the November-December 2011 holiday season reached $37.2 billion. Spending was up 15 percent over 2010 and marked an all-time record for the two-month period.
Strengthening the year’s bumper season, 10 individual shopping days passed the $1 billion mark, compared to only one such day in 2010. The strongest online shopping day of 2011 – for the second consecutive year – was Cyber Monday, which enjoyed a final transaction total of $1.25 billion.
“With brick-and-mortar holiday retail estimated to have grown about 4 percent this year, it’s clear that e-commerce continues to gain market share from traditional retail due to the attractiveness of the Internet’s convenience and lower prices,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Despite their continuing price sensitivity, consumers felt a bit more comfortable opening up their wallets this year, although this appears to have occurred as a result of a decline in the savings rate,” he added.
While the results are certainly a cause for celebration, Fulgoni cautioned that until retailers report their financial year-end results, it is unknown if their tactics of aggressive pricing and free shipping offers – which occurred on more than half of all transactions – came at the cost of lower margins.