RealTime IT News

Weekend Sales Help E-tailers Bounce Back

After a slow end to the workweek, online retailers bounced back a little over the weekend, posting robust year-to-year growth numbers, according to online metrics firm comScore.

The weekend spending surge helped lift total e-commerce spending growth for the holiday season to 19 percent from last year, inching closer to comScore's year-to-year growth projection of 20 percent for November and December.

In total, e-commerce spending last week was 22 percent higher than the same week a year ago, bringing overall sales for the season to $23.48 billion.

With total online spending of $4.7 billion, last week will likely end up the heaviest spending week of the holiday season, comScore is predicting. On both Monday and Tuesday, online shoppers spent well over $800 million. With free shipping offers and guaranteed delivery before Christmas having expired on many retailers' sites this Monday or Tuesday, comScore has predicted that those two days could also see strong sales.

The new figures paint a rosier picture for online retailers than comScore's last report, where the mid-week lull raised concerns that contracting consumer spending—particularly among lower-income households—would end the holiday season on a downbeat. Of greater concern was the uncertain outlook the numbers portended for 2008.

comScore Senior Analyst Andrew Lipsman told InternetNews.com that after last week, year-to-year growth would have to average 25 percent for the rest of the season in order to hit the firm's 20 percent prediction for November and December.

Gian Fulgoni, comScore's chairman, pointed out that spending this season has been up and down, with the beginning and the end of the week usually posting strong growth, and the more modest increases coming midweek. Amid the fluctuating spending patterns of this holiday season, this week will be telling.

"The current – and final – week of online shopping before Christmas will be especially critical to the overall success of the holiday shopping season," Fulgoni said in a statement. "We'll know whether consumers were simply delaying their purchases in the hopes of capturing late-season deals, or if the economic pressures weighing on people's wallets were actually too strong to overcome."

Broken down by category, video gaming is the runaway leader, with online shoppers spending 129 percent more on video games, appliances and equipment this holiday season than last.

Furniture, appliances and equipment make up the category with the second-strongest growth numbers, with online shoppers spending 63 percent more this holiday season than last year.