Online Holiday Spending Hits $16 Billion
Online holiday spending has reached nearly $16 billion, marking a 3 percent increase compared to the same time period last, according to the latest data from comScore.
The most recent week ending December 6 reached 4.6 billion in holiday spending, heavier than any individual spending week in 2008 but still below two individual weeks in 2007. The week began with strong weekday spending, led by $887 million on Cyber Monday, but ended on a quieter note with negative year-over-year growth rates during the weekend.
"After a strong beginning to the week, we saw growth rates decelerate over the weekend to put this past week of holiday shopping in line with our 3 percent growth forecast for the season," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
"We are anticipating heavy spending for the current week, making it an important determinant for how the holiday season as a whole will perform. Hopefully, we’ll see a return to the growth rates we observed during the earlier part of this past week and that the weekend softness was just a temporary hiccup."
comScore also found that social media is having an impact on holiday shopping behavior. According to its holiday survey, 28 percent of those who have begun their holiday shopping this season indicated that social media has influenced their purchases.
User-generated product reviews were the most common form of social media that influenced holiday purchase (13% of respondents), followed by expert product reviews (11%). Seven percent reported they have followed a fan page on Facebook to take advantage of special offers and deals, while 6 percent said they have been influenced by a friend’s Facebook status referring to a particular product. Five percent of respondents said they had followed a company on Twitter to take advantage of special offers, while 3 percent indicated that a friend’s tweet about a product influenced their buying behavior.
"Social media really appears to be emerging as an important marketing channel this holiday season," added Mr. Fulgoni. "On the one hand, its emergence is being driven by increased consumer adoption of these technologies and the exponential growth in digital word-of-mouth that is occurring over this medium."
"On the other hand, having a social media marketing strategy makes sense for retailers in this environment because it’s cost-effective and shows an effort to get closer to one’s customers. I think we are getting our first real glimpse at the impact social media will play on commerce as we enter the next decade."