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Online Spending Still Increasing

29 Oct, 2002 By: Hive News

comScore Networks today reported record results in consumer e-commerce for the third quarter, with total consumer online sales for the quarter reaching $17.9 billion, up 35 percent versus the third quarter of 2001 and up two percent versus the second quarter of 2002.

Year-to-date sales through Sept. 30 totaled $52.5 billion, up 41 percent versus the same period in 2001 and nearly equal to the $53.1 billion in spending posted in all of 2001.

"While the third quarter opened sluggishly, sales in August and September climbed strongly, reflecting continued strength in consumer spending," said Michelle David Adams, comScore Networks VP.

Late-breaking sales data indicate that the fourth quarter opened strongly, with sales of non-travel goods totaling $918 million during the week ending Oct. 6, the highest level posted in the year to date.

comScore's sales figures are based on the actual buying activity of a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million Internet-users,who have given comScore permission to confidentially monitor their browsing and buying behavior.

"Given increased momentum in the early weeks of October, the industry is poised to meet -- and potentially exceed -- comScore's fourth quarter non-travel expectation of $13.8 billion," said Adams. "Given the importance to the industry of accurate sales measurement, we'll continue to monitor and report weekly sales trends on a timely basis throughout the 2002 holiday shopping season."

Each of the top 10 non-retail consumer e-commerce categories posted year-over-year quarterly gains between 10 percent and 47 percent. Computer Hardware continues to be the largest non-travel product category and, with aggressive pricing by Dell and others, the sector is also an e-commerce growth leader.

Aggressive marketing behind products like DVD players, digital cameras and game consoles boosted the Consumer Electronics category. While each of the Top 10 categories posted significant year-over-year gains, many -- including Event Tickets, Home and Garden and Books experienced expected seasonal declines between the second and third quarters.

comScore analysts reported that more shoppers are buying online, but spending per buyer has declined somewhat while new online buyers build confidence in the medium. And compared to last year, 2002's compressed ho;iday season means merchants have less time in which to earn even more business.

"While the third quarter brought relatively positive results, all attention is now focused on the make-it-or-break-it fourth-quarter," said Adams. "There's clearly a mandate for retailers to be creative and aggressive in designing promotions that increase consumer confidence and persuade shoppers to spend more, earlier."

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