Online Travel Sales Returning to Normal

There’s good news for the online travel sector: An Internet measurement outfit says that the category posted $418 million in consumer sales for the week ending Dec. 2, about 2 percent above average sales in the months prior to Sept. 11.

The last time online travel spending crossed this threshold was the week ending Sept. 9, two days before the terrorist attack on the United States, according to comScore Networks.

Reston, Va.-based comScore also said that the week posted another high mark in e-commerce sales for the year to date, with $1.5 billion in total sales for the 7-day period.

The company also said that online sales results for the full month of November came in at an estimated $4.8 billion, up 13 percent over the previous month. The Hard Goods category, representing most gift-giving activity, generated nearly $1.1 billion alone, a level 83 percent above the average week, comScore said.

“As anticipated, the week was extremely strong and set the new high for the year,” said comScore Vice President Dan Hess. “The fact that Travel crossed benchmark levels is particularly significant, since those benchmarks were established over several months in which the category enjoyed extraordinary sales growth.”

In a sure sign that the holidays have begun in earnest, Toys were the overall category growth leader, with sales of $40 million, nearly six times the average week’s level this year. Video Games and Consumer Electronics sales were up nearly 400% percent and more than100 percent,

Apparel, one of the larger online categories, sold over double the benchmark level at $185 million. And the online Book category, which has had varied results over the past several weeks, recorded sales that were 50 percent above average.

comScore’s sales figures are based on the actual, passively captured purchase activity of a representative cross-section of over 1.5 million Internet users, who have given comScore permission to monitor their browsing and buying behavior confidentially using the company’s patent-pending technology.

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