Online Holiday Spending Up BIG

    January 4, 2005

The latest holiday eSpending report indicates that online shoppers in the U.S. spent $23.2 billion during the 2004 holiday season, excluding travel. This is 25 percent above 2003 spending.

According to the 2004 eSpending report by from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive, and Nielsen//NetRatings, online consumers spent the most on apparel/clothing, totaling $3.8 billion, or 16 percent of total online revenue, during the 2004 holiday season.

The toys/video games category was second with $2.5 billion, or 11 percent of online revenue, while the consumer electronics category rounded out the top three with $2.3 billion, or 10 percent of total online revenue.

Categories generating the highest year-over-year growth in holiday dollars included jewelry, flowers and computer hardware/peripherals. Jewelry jumped 113 percent to $1.9 billion during the 2004 holiday season compared to the $888 million spent in 2003.

Floral retailers experienced a 59 percent surge in online revenue to $530 million while computer hardware/peripherals increased 30 percent over last season, generating $2.1 billion in online revenue this year.

“It was definitely a very fruitful season for the online retailers,” said Heather Dougherty, senior analyst for Nielsen/NetRatings. “It really exceeded the expectations. Coming out of the gate, people were a little skeptical of how the season would turn out.”

At the beginning of the holiday season, some research firms predicted online sales would grow only around 20 percent. Obviously, those forecasts were a bit low.

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