Everywhere you look it seems, more and more positive data is coming out about holiday spending and shopping here in 2010.
We’ve already done a few posts about the strong numbers many retailers and e-tailers are enjoying during the holiday season thus far and it appears that while the economy is still not where it should be, consumers are moving ahead and buying gifts at a rate not seen in quite a few years.
The latest round of data comes once again from comScore, which is reporting that consumers have spent more than $17.5 billion online already this holiday season. That’s a 12 percent increase in spending during the same time period just a year ago. And though sales have slowed some since the Thanksgiving holiday, comScore expects a pick-up again here in the middle of December.
Consumers have dropped close to $800 million online on four different days since the end of November, boosting the strong overall spending numbers. Cyber Monday, which we already reported was the heaviest online spending day ever, is one of them. But the day after Cyber Monday, November 30th, also posted strong sales numbers as well, totaling $911 million.
“We anticipated that the post-Cyber Monday period would experience a slight hangover after many of the retailers’ most aggressive deals and promotions expired, but we can expect to see activity begin to pick up again next week as we get into the middle part of December,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman.
What’s driving so many more consumers to the web for holiday shopping this year than ever before? Two words: free shipping.
While free or discounted shipping has always been one of the clearest benefits to online shopping, it’s reaching what some might call epic proportions in 2010. comScore says that more than half of every single online order placed since November 1 has included some type of free shipping incentive. The week ending November 28 saw 55 percent of all orders include a free shipping incentive, a nearly 21 percent increase over the same week in 2009. And that rate has stayed steady more recently, with 51.4 percent of all orders last week (through Sunday, December 5) shipping for free as well.
“Without a doubt, free shipping has become a critical driver of e-commerce purchasing, with the majority of consumers indicating that they will abandon their shopping carts if they get to check out and find that free shipping is not included,” Fulgoni says. “Retailers have increasingly responded to this consumer demand, with market leaders Amazon and Wal-Mart, for example, both offering free shipping on virtually all transactions this season.”
And proof that shoppers are actively seeking out free shipping discounts and taking advantage of them: the average order value for transactions with free shipping included are about 30 percent higher right now than those without.
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