Online Holiday Spending Hits $26 Billion

Growth Rate Is Slowing

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[ Business]

U.S. online holiday retail sales reached a record $26. 2 billion from November 1 through December 21, up 19 percent from a year ago says ComScore.

Jupiter Research and Forrester Research had predicted 20 percent and 21 percent growth, respectively.

"At least 30% of our sales come in the last quarter, and probably half of that is off the Internet — and that’s going up year after year," said Carolyn Beem, manager of public affairs for outdoor clothing seller L.L. Bean. L.L. Bean offered free shipping on all orders from September 28 through Friday. "We think it paid off," Beem said.

Amazon.com said on Saturday five of the top 10 items on its electronics best-seller list are Apple iPod players. Apple shares Monday rose 2.5 percent to a record closing of $198.80.

Amazon competitor Buy.com reported strong sales of Microsoft’s Zune players. Discounts are driving the sales, says Jeff Wisot, Buy.com’s vice president of marketing. "A lot of these manufactures will let us discount the price," he said.

Ron LapierreEven though the growth rate is slowing, the dollar amounts are rising in the billions notes Ron LaPierre, chief executive of PriceGrabber.com, a comparison-shopping site. "The fact that e-commerce can generate $4 billion more in sales than it did this time last year is very promising," he said. "I’m sure (e-commerce growth) numbers are going to be significantly above retail as a whole."

Online Holiday Spending Hits $26 Billion
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