E-Tailers Net $2.8 Billion in January

A new survey of spending at retail Web sites shows that consumers in
the United States spent $2.8 billion online during January alone — half as
much as was spent during the entire 1999 holiday season.

According to the the National Retail Federation/Forrester Online Retail
Index, consumers spent the most on airline tickets, followed in a dead heat
by computer hardware and books, and then software and apparel.

The survey was done in conjunction with research firm Greenfield Online. The index is intended
to be a monthly measurement of consumer online spending.

“In January online consumers spent more than half of what was spent online
during the entire holiday season,” said David M. Cooperstein, director of Forrester’s Online Retail Research.

Media products — books, music, videos, and software — accounted for $653.6
million, or 23.3 percent of the month’s purchases. The combined air, hotel
and car rental business booked online in January equals $582.8 million, or
nearly 21 percent of all online purchases for the month.

The new index “will provide our members and the industry at large with a
monthly view of how consumers are using the Internet as a retail channel,”
said Scott Silverman, NRF’s vice president for Internet Retailing.
“NRF has worked closely with Forrester Research to ensure that the Index’s
methodology yields the most accurate picture of consumer online spending.”

The index is based on 5,000 responses to an online panel fielded by
Greenfield Online during the first 10 business days of each month. The survey
results for January were fielded from Feb. 3 through Feb. 14.

The monthly panel is weighted to Forrester Research’s Benchmark Panel, which
surveyed nearly 90,000 U.S. and Canadian members of a consumer mail panel
developed by NPD Group, a market research firm. Data was weighted to
represent the North American population demographically.

Here are the categoiry figures from the first survey (in thousands):

  • Software: $186,657.79
  • Books: $224,366.97
  • Music: $143,073.41
  • Videos: $99,514.83
  • Office supplies: $98,695.57
  • Apparel: $181,559.60
  • Footwear: $42,212.95
  • Jewelry: $71,143.50
  • Flowers: $57,727.53
  • Linens/home decor: $58,062.38
  • Small appliances: $36,333.31
  • Toys/video games: $146,064.78
  • Sporting goods: $52,905.40
  • Tools and garden: $26,679.23
  • Computer hardware: $224,363.20
  • Consumer electronics: $126,160.79
  • Appliances: $9,751.32
  • Furniture: $22,839.11
  • Food/bev: $77,649.09
  • Health and beauty: $142,829.05
  • Air tickets: $317,608.16
  • Car rental: $101,390.58
  • Hotel res.: $163,786.61
  • Other: $173,128.09
  • Total spending, Jan. 2000: $2,784,503.23

Number of shoppers: 13,744
Average spent per consumer: $202.59

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