ComScore said weaker than expected online spending in the final week before Christmas means U.S. retail sites from desktop computers fell short of its expectations for the Nov. 1- Dec. 23 period.
ComScore estimated U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 52 days of the November-December 2013 holiday season reached $42.8 billion, up 10 percent from the comparable period in 20123 (Nov. 2 to Dec. 23, 2012).
“Our expectations for the online holiday shopping season anticipated that consumers would spend heavily later into the season out of necessity to make up for the highly compressed holiday shopping calendar this year,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Unfortunately that was not in the cards, as the final online shopping week saw considerably softer sales than anticipated, including zero billion dollar spending days although Monday and Tuesday came close.”
Added Fulgoni, “Strong momentum coming out of Thanksgiving, in addition to heavy weekend buying, suggested we would meet or exceed expectations as long as momentum continued through the final week before Christmas.
Unfortunately, the most recent week fell short of those expectations, and it looks like the final season growth rate will end up a few percentage points shy of what we had anticipated. In the end, I think we’ll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand, while at the same time, consumers weren’t willing or able to increase their spending rate to fully compensate for the six-day shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Top 5 Gaining Product Categories for Holiday Season-to-Date
For the holiday season-to-date, Video Game Consoles & Accessories ranked as the top-gaining product category vs. year ago, followed by Apparel & Accessories, Consumer Electronics (bolstered by smartphone sales), Computer Hardware (bolstered by tablet sales), and Home & Garden.
Top 10 Heaviest Online Spending Days in 2013
With the heaviest portions of the online holiday season now in the books, comScore can report the top ten biggest sales days for 2013. The season was once again led by Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) with a record $1.735 billion in desktop spending, followed by Tuesday, Dec. 3 with $1.410 billion and Green Monday (Dec. 9) with $1.401 billion. The 2013 holiday season saw 10 days with more than $1 billion spending, but down from last year’s total of 12 individual days, reflecting the compressed calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas that featured six fewer days of online shopping.