FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Online Holiday Spending Up 24% in 2004

Although the jury is still out regarding the success of this past holiday retail season, online retailers have something to smile about. In line with expectations, online sales increased by 24% during the 2004 holiday season over the year before. US consumers spent a whopping $8.8 billion online during the holidays.

Entertainment, apparel, jewelry and electronics were the big winners, along with the relatively new category of photo printing and sharing. In addition, consumers generally spent more online than the year before, and bought more big-ticket items. According to VeriSign, the average online purchase this season was $145, with the daily average peaking at $178 on Dec. 22, 2004.

One question sure to be examined closely in the coming weeks is how deeply online sales cut into brick-and-mortar retail. So far, holiday sales figures have been mixed; "big box" retailers report disappointing sales, whereas more upscale retailers had a merrier season. Exactly where online sales fall into the mix will be a matter of great importance, particularly if consumers prove to be abandoning traditional stores for cyberspace.

Source: eMarketer