RealTime IT News

An Onslaught of Online Shoppers!

While the 1999 season peaked with a 40 percent growth in the number of home shoppers, this year the number of online shoppers has already risen 53 percent, setting a new record for the holiday season, according to the latest figures from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The online measurement firm said that for the second week in December, its Holiday E-Commerce Index, which measures home and work Web shopping in eight product categories, jumped 10 percent over the prior week and 78 percent since the beginning of this year's holiday shopping season.

Meanwhile, comparison-shopping and evaluation company BizRate said that online shopping is at its peak right now, and that Monday, Dec. 11, "marked an Internet milestone as the first day in online shopping history where sales exceeded the $200 million barrier." Dec. 13, 1999, marked last year's peak online holiday shopping day with $177.87 million in sales, according to BizRate.com's online retail figures.

BizRate.com forecasts the combined total of the first three days of this week -- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -- will amount to nearly $600 million in sales.

"Online holiday shopping got off to a late start this year, but has recovered with strong and consistent growth," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings. "In the last five weeks, holiday shopping growth has consistently exceeded last year's results and the trend indicates that there is at least one more week of favorable growth ahead."

BizRate predicted holiday shoppers will spend as much as $1.21 billion for the week of Dec. 11, 2000.

"Shoppers are more savvy this year, and many are ordering earlier to ensure their packages arrive on time," said Chuck Davis, president and CEO of BizRate.com. "It's now up to e-tailers to meet and exceed consumer expectations by successfully handling this week's online order onslaught."

A key attraction to shoppers this holiday season is established brick and mortar retailers that have moved online, NetRatings said. Brick and mortar sites have grown 103 percent since the beginning of the season, gaining ground on pure-play e-tailers, which are up 77 percent.

"Brick and mortar sites are tapping into their large, established customer bases and leveraging their enormous promotional budgets to drive millions of shoppers online," said Kaldor. "While late to e-commerce, these sites are winning their fair share of visitors and dollars."