Cyber Monday Hangover: U.S. Online Spending Growth Softens After Strong Early Week Performance

*Holiday E-Commerce Spending Growth Slows to 9 Percent for Most Recent Week*

RESTON, VA, December 5, 2010 – comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 33 days of the November – December 2010 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $16.8 billion has been spent online, marking a 12-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week saw four individual days eclipse $800 million in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.028 billion. Tuesday, November 30 reached $911 million, making it the third heaviest online spending day on record, while Wednesday ($868 million) and Thursday ($850 million) also reached high levels, although growth rates for the season subsided in the latter half of the week.

2010 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2009
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
  Millions ($)
2009 2010 Percent Change
November 1 – December 3 $15,041 $16,803 12%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) $318 $407 28%
Black Friday (Nov. 26) $595 $648 9%
Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) $887 $1,028 16%
Week Ending Dec. 3 (Nov. 27 – Dec. 3) $4,724 $5,163 9%

*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru December 4, 2009)

“Cyber Monday kicked off the most recent work week with an all-time record of more than $1 billion in e-commerce spending, representing a strong 16-percent growth rate versus year ago,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “While we saw three more days during the week with at least $800 million in spending, growth rates slowed to single-digit levels following several weeks at about 13 percent. We believe this softening is attributable to retailers’ heavy discounting and promotional activity during the earlier part of the holiday season [through Cyber Monday], which pulled some consumer demand forward, resulting in a mild hangover effect in the days immediately following Cyber Monday. We may see another week of this effect before late season discounts and buying by procrastinators gives the season a final spending surge.”

Large Online Retailers Gain Market Share from Mid and Long Tail

One trend that has emerged since the beginning of the recession is the shift of online spending dollars towards larger retailers, who typically have greater financial resources to invest in offering the most competitive pricing on goods and services. In fact, growth for the holiday season to date has come almost entirely from the Top 25 online retailers, who have seen their total dollar sales grow 20 percent while overall growth among the small and mid-sized retailers has been flat. The top 25 retailers have gained 4.2 points of market share to a level of 67.8 percent since the 2009 holiday season.

Analysis of Spending Growth Among Top 25 Online Retail Sites
Nov. 1-29, 2010 vs. Corresponding Days in 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
  Spending Growth Dollar Share
2009 2010
Total Retail 13% 100.0% 100.0%
Top 25 Retailers 20% 63.6% 67.8%
Small and Mid-Tail Retailers 0% 36.4% 32.2%

Social Media Plays Role in Generating Gift Ideas

As part of comScore’s annual holiday shopping survey of consumers, approximately 500 Internet users were asked about the importance of social media sites influencing their purchase decisions. When asked how much they agreed with the statement “Recommendations from friends on social media sites are a great way to get gift ideas during the holiday season,” 33 percent agreed with the statement compared to 24 percent who disagreed (while 43 percent remained neutral). This finding suggests that, while social media can certainly play a role in driving holiday shopping and purchase behavior, it may not be a primary driver for many consumers.

Q: “How much do you agree with the following statement? Recommendations from friends on social media sites are a great way to get gift ideas during the holiday season.”
November 24-29, 2010, n=503
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore 2010 Holiday Survey
Response Percent of Respondents
Strongly Agree 7%
Agree 26%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 43%
Disagree 9%
Strongly Disagree 15%

When asked about which specific forms of social media may have helped influenced their purchase decisions this holiday season, consumers indicated that reading a consumer-generated product review (14 percent) and reading an expert product review (10 percent) were the most likely to influence their behavior. Some respondents also indicated that following a fan page on Facebook to learn about deals and promotions (9 percent), a friend’s Facebook status update about a product/service (9 percent) and watching a product-related video (8 percent) influenced their holiday purchases this season.

*Source: comScore

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