Online holiday spending in the US touches $69.1bn


January 11, 2016 | By RetailME Bureau

According to global media measurement and analytics company comScore, online spending in the US totaled $69.1 billion during the entire November-December 2015 holiday season, marking a 13% rise over 2014 when $61.3 billion was spent during this period.

“Despite falling slightly short of our original forecast of 14% growth, the 2015 online holiday shopping season was nevertheless very successful with growth rates well into double-digits and once again far exceeding that of brick-and-mortar,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman emeritus.

During the 2015 holiday season $56.4 billion was spent online via desktop computers, marking a 6% increase versus the corresponding period last year, while mobile commerce (m-commerce) is estimated to have accounted for 18% of total digital commerce, an increase from 13% in the previous season.

A total of $12.7 billion was spent via smartphones and tablets during this period, up a staggering 59% compared to a year ago. On the other hand, Cyber Monday, commemorated on November 30, once again ranked as the heaviest spending day of the year with more than $2 billion in desktop buying for the second year in a row.

comScore’s holiday season forecast had expected desktop e-commerce to grow 9% to $58.3 billion and m-commerce to grow 47% to $11.7 billion. While desktop spending fell short by 3 percentage points and $1.9 billion, preliminary mobile estimates suggest it exceeded forecast by 12 percentage points and nearly $1 billion, helping to offset the shortfall on desktop.

“Fairly early on it became clear that desktop e-commerce would likely underperform our expectations while m-commerce was  poised to over perform, but for the most part signs continued to point to hitting that 14% overall growth estimate. Where the season ultimately fell short was in the last two weeks of the year, and in particular the week before Christmas. We had anticipated heavy desktop spending through Free Shipping Day on December 18 that unfortunately did not materialise, and spending began to soften more than expected by the Wednesday of that week,” Fulgoni shares.

“If there is an underlying takeaway from this holiday season, I think it will be remembered as the one where ‘mobile ate brick-and-mortar.’ Mobile became an essential shopping channel nearly doubling desktop in total retail traffic, while seeing growth rates approaching 60% year-over-year at the same time that offline retail experienced softness throughout the season. I believe that we’ve seen a paradigm shift in 2016 where the future of retail will increasingly be defined by consumers’ behaviour on mobile,” he concludes.

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