U.S. Online Christmas Sales Reach $20B

In its second update this week, comScore reported that U.S. Christmastime retail sales for the first 34 days of the period have maintained a 15 percent year on year rate of growth, which is in line with expectations. Online retail sales have reached $20 billion since November 1, but retail sales have softened somewhat during this current week, according to the metrics firm.

The strongest overall spending gains have been driven by the mid-income households, or those earning $50,000 to $99,999, at 19 percent, while spending among upper-income households, or those earning more than $100,000, is growing at a rate of 16 percent. Lower-income households, those earning less than $50,000, are seeing a more modest increase of 9 percent.

In a departure from the past couple of years, comScore also noted that the predominant driver of online spending growth this year has been from an increase in spending per buyer. In fact, the number of buyers overall has increased just 3 percent compared with a 12 percent increase in dollars per buyer, according to comScore.

”We have seen some indications that mid-income Americans might be experiencing ‘austerity fatigue,’” said Gian Fulgoni, the chairman of comScore.

”After spending the last couple of years increasing their personal savings in an effort to get their finances in order, some appear to have decided they are done pinching pennies and are increasing their spending by taking advantage of the many promotions and price discounts that online retailers have been offering in the first half of the holiday shopping season. The appeal of lower prices that can be found on the Internet is also undoubtedly a driver of the acceleration of the shift from in-store buying to e-commerce that we are witnessing among all income segments this season,” he said.

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