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Online Holiday Sales Increase 5%

30 Dec, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Spurred by aggressive discounting, free shipping and a strong winter storm on the East Coast the weekend before Christmas, online holiday retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 increased 5% to $27 billion from the same period last year, according to a Dec. 30 comScore report.

The tally represented about a 1.4% increase compared to overall holiday retail sales, which increased 3.6%.

For the period from Black Friday (Nov. 27) through Christmas Eve, and after adjusting for the additional shopping day in 2009, sales grew by approximately 3.5%, reported the Reston, Va.-based research firm.

Sales of Blu-ray Disc players and movies featured prominently in ecommerce holiday sales as Amazon this week said it sold more than 100,000 Blu-ray players during the holidays.

Key online days included $318 million in sales Thanksgiving Day, up 10% from sales of $288 million in 2008; $595 million in revenue on Black Friday, up 11% from revenue of $534 million last year; and $887 million in revenue on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30), up 5% from revenue of $834 million in 2008.

Dec. 15 sales surged 21% to $913 million ($754 million in 2008), and pre-Christmas weekend (Dec. 19-20) sales increased $767 million (13%) from $677 million last year, due in part to a strong winter snow storm on the East Coast that stranded many shoppers at home.

A notable blimp occurred on so-called Green Monday (Dec. 14), when online retailers had hoped to top $900 million in sales, but had to setle for $854 million, down 1% from sales of $859 million last year.

"This was a year when retailers substantially boosted their use of social network marketing and the larger retailers significantly outperformed their smaller brethren," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "In these tough economic times, the retailers with sufficient financial resources and a willingness to invest in aggressive marketing and free shipping offers were clear winners."

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