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December 27, 2013

Online Holiday Spending Up, But Fails to Meet Analyst’s Expectations

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Spending was up this holiday season, but did not meet analysts’ expectations.

According to comScore, online desktop shoppers spent 10 percent more this holiday season than in 2012, but the digital market research firm had been predicting a 14 percent increase.

comScore had expected U.S. desktop shoppers to spend $48.1 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 22, $5.3 billion less than the $42.8 billion actually spent.

comScore image

comScore image

“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 in a press release.

“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.”

Electronics was a popular gift choice this year. Video game consoles and accessories were the top-gaining product category compared to 2012, while consumer electronics, augmented by Smartphone sales, was third. Computer hardware was fourth, thanks to tablet sales.

Cyber Monday was the busiest day for online retailers, with desktop shoppers spending $1.735 billion. Dec. 3 was the second best shopping day with a $1.410 billion tally followed by Green Monday with a $1.401 total.

Only 10 days during the 2013 holiday season saw more than $1 billion in spending, down from last year’s total of 12 days, reflecting the compressed calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were six fewer days of online shopping this year.

“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,” Fulgoni said. “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.”


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.