comScore released new findings on e-commerce spending in the U.S. in the fourth quarter. They were up 14% from the year-ago quarter, reaching about $49.7 billion.
That makes nine quarters in a row for positive year-over-year growth in U.S. e-commerce spending. In fact, that's five in a row for double digit growth.
E-commerce spending in the U.S. reached a record $161.5 billion for all of 2011, according to the firm. That's up 13% from 2010.
comScore's highlights the following:
- The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Jewelry & Watches, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, and Computer Software. Each category grew at least 18 percent vs. year ago.
- Ten individual days in Q4 surpassed $1 billion in online spending, led by Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) at $1.251 billion. Monday, Dec. 5 ranked second at $1.178 billion, followed by Green Monday (Dec. 12) at $1.133 billion.
- 52 percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, representing an all-time high. The previous high was Q4 2010 at 49 percent.
- Smartphones and tablets played a growing role in online shopping, with consumes increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in a retail store.
“The fourth quarter of 2011 capped off what was yet another strong year for online retail, one in which every quarter achieved double-digit increases versus the prior year,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “In the face of continuing uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy, consumers increasingly went online for their shopping needs. Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for e-commerce, and unless those conditions change we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012 and perhaps even an acceleration in the current growth trend.”