comScore today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 21 days of the November - December 2010 holiday season, as well as its official spending forecast for the season.
For the holiday season-to-date, $9.01 billion has been spent online, marking a 13-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.
"The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to an extremely positive start, outperforming our earlier expectations," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last. While this early spending surge reflects, in part, heavy promotional activity on the part of retailers occurring earlier this season, it is nevertheless a very encouraging sign."
The official comScore 2010 holiday season forecast is that online retail spending for the November ? December period will reach $32.4 billion, representing an 11-percent gain versus year ago. This strong growth rate represents an improvement compared to last season?s 4-percent increase.
"After a year in which we already saw growth rates return to solid positive territory, the recent strength in holiday spending has led us to raise our official forecast to 11 percent from the 7 to 9 percent we were initially expecting," added Fulgoni. "We are seeing online spending surpass the totals we saw in 2007 prior to the recession and expect sales this holiday season to be the highest on record with more than $32 billion being spent during the November and December period."
Alongside its reporting of behaviorally monitored e-commerce spending, comScore is also conducting weekly surveys of approximately 500 consumers to determine attitudes and sentiment in regard to the holiday shopping season. In the most recent survey, conducted on November 11-15, 2010, consumers indicated that they believe retailers? promotional activity for the early part of the season has increased in relation to last year. Specifically, 36 percent of respondents indicated that they are seeing more discounts, sales and promotions vs. last year compared to just 11 percent who said there were fewer.
One of the more prominent promotions for online purchases is free shipping. When asked how important free shipping is for making an online purchase this holiday season, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers indicated it was important. Recent comScore behavioral data indicated that 41 percent of retail e-commerce purchases in Q3 2010 included free shipping.