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Verisign Releases Holiday e-commerce Data

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VeriSign released e-commerce data showing that the 2004 holiday shopping season yielded a total of $8.8 billion in online shopping purchases, a 24 percent increase as compared to the same period last year.

VeriSign also reported that the average price of an online purchase reached a season-high of $178 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004, one of the final shipping days before Christmas. Additionally, the final five shopping days during the week of December 20 accounted for $1.5 billion in online purchases.

“The 2004 online holiday shopping season has proved highly successful, with virtually every indicator showing growth. From spikes in merchant categories to new shopping phenomena like ‘Black Monday,’ we continue to observe the impact the online marketplace has on traditional shopping-behavior patterns,” said Trevor Healy, vice president of payment services, VeriSign. “Through the online data we collected, we have seen clear changes in consumer behavior such as accelerated weekday shopping activity, more confidence in buying digital goods from e-commerce sites, an increase in gift-certificate purchases as well as the direct impact of shipping lead times on sales.”

VeriSign’s latest statistics are based on the analysis of online sales volume processed through VeriSign Payment Services, which comprises more than 35 percent of all North American e-commerce and represents in excess of 120,000 online retailers.

Full Category Comparisons

VeriSign tracks year-over-year merchant activity in key e-commerce categories. Significant findings this year include the following figures from Thanksgiving 2004 through the Monday following Christmas (Monday, December 27, 2004), as compared to the equivalent time period in 2003 (Thanksgiving 2003 through Monday, December 29, 2003):

— Online transactions for the electronics category increased 17 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. This category picked up steam from a four percent increase as of December 12, 2004 and a 12 percent increases as of December 19, 2004. The category also carried an average ticket price of $291, the highest average price across all categories.

— Online transactions for the apparel category increased 45 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. Women’s apparel represented the largest portion of this category, accounting for 40 percent of the total sales this season. Women’s apparel also showed the highest increase in average ticket price, increasing 28 percent to $140 this year as compared to the 2003 online holiday shopping season.

— Online transactions for the entertainment category (music and video downloads) increased 54 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003.

— Online transactions related to the photo-printing-and-sharing category increased 120 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. This was the fastest growing of all categories tracked during the 2004 holiday season.

— Online transactions for the general retail category increased 24 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. The Kitchen-and-Housewares subcategory held the highest share of this category at 28 percent. Kitchen-and-Housewares also held one of the season’s highest average ticket prices at $148 — second only to the electronics category.

Spending Patterns

— Consistent with previously observed consumer online shopping behavior, Monday again was the busiest shopping day of the week. Monday, December 20, 2004, the peak online shopping day from the week, accounted for 4.8 million transactions, representing more than 23 percent of the week’s activity.

— In the “brick-and-mortar” world, retailers expect that December 26, the day after Christmas, will draw a large number of consumers to their stores. This year, December 26 fell on a Sunday, a day of the week with historically low online shopping activity. Therefore, the equivalent spike in online shopping activity occurred on Monday, December 27, 2004, the first weekday following Christmas. The total volume of transactions recorded on December 27, 2004 was 3.8 million, a 61 percent increase as compared to Friday, December 26, 2003 (the first weekday following Christmas in 2003). This also represented an eight percent increase as compared to Monday, December 29, 2003 (the first Monday following Christmas 2003).

— The total amount spent from Thanksgiving 2004 through Monday, December 27, 2004 was $8.8 billion, a $1.7 billion — or 24 percent — increase in sales as compared to the same period in 2003 (Thursday, November 27, 2003 to Monday, December 29, 2003).

— The average sale amount during the time-period from Thanksgiving 2004 through Monday, December 27, 2004 was $145, a 12 percent increase as compared to the same time period in 2003 (Thursday, November 27, 2003 to Monday, December 29, 2003). The average ticket price reached a high of $178 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004.

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Verisign Releases Holiday e-commerce Data
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