Online Consumers Spending About The Same This Year

    December 10, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Yes, online visits to retail sites have been up. Yes, retailers are seeing increases in transactions and visitors. What they’re not seeing, though, is more money spent per transaction, which could make things roughly square with last year.

Though there were 2 million more shoppers whipping about online on Cyber Monday, a 22 percent increase over last year and a full 34 percent of the shopping population did their shopping online, Cyber Monday revenue went up a paltry one percent.

That’s because, though there were 14 percent more transactions than the previous Cyber Monday, total purchase amounts are down 12 percent, or $7.19 per purchase. But really, if they’re spending about the same or more overall in a weak economy, doesn’t that bode well for the future?

Well, one can hope.

Here’s the good news and why I wouldn’t sweat it:

1.    Spending did actually increase in a time of felt, known recession, even if just by one percent over last December, during our Recession-Denial period.

2.    Economic conditions no doubt were a major factor motivating people to come online and hunt for bargains. That means more exposure, brand building, and loyalty-building opportunities for online retailers.

3.    Part of the reason for the lower spend is that retailers got more aggressive with special promotions, which consumers rightly took advantage of. Searches for “coupons” increased 30 percent from November to December, and retailers obliged them in large number. This is competition. This is good.

4.    Again, consumers actually spent slightly more overall while saving money per transaction. This is either bad math or, more likely, stubborn holiday ideologues determined to make this Christmas as good or better than last year, even if they have scour every website on the Internet to accomplish that. We can all just be in the poor house next Christmas. This is optimism. This is also good.

5.    According to Nielsen, 76 percent of consumers still cited convenience as an important reason they shopped online, compared to 53 percent who cited price. This is laziness over penny-pinching. This is good? Well, if you’re an online retailer it is.

While some were pushing “Green Monday,” which I promise is going nowhere slowly (hard to go fast on two hybrid cylinders), the Monday following Cyber Monday, the Thanksgiving-less Brits (how does one know when to start shopping over there?) were pushing Mega Monday, and saw online sales jump 18 percent. How about piggybacking on that idea, combining the two for Mega Green Monday. Wouldn’t you love to see the Hulk running around the Web and smashing prices?