Any concerns that the e-commerce industry would suffer through a hangover of sorts after a robust holiday shopping season can be put to rest for the time being at least.
comScore data released today shows that e-tail sales increased 12 percent in the first quarter of 2011 compared tothe same time period a year ago. The increase marks a sixth straight quarter of year-over-year growth and gives the industry back-to-back quarters of double digit sales increases.
Total U.S. e-commerce sales for the quarter were $38 billion, up from $33.98 billion in Q1 2010.
“Domestic retail e-commerce built on the success of a strong 2010 holiday season with another encouraging quarter here in the first three months of the year,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman. “Faced with rapidly rising gas prices and stubbornly high unemployment, consumers continued to take advantage of the Internet’s lower prices by shifting their spending from offline retail stores.”
“In fact, in the first quarter, the growth in e-commerce spending was roughly double that observed at offline retail,” Fulgoni continued. “While we would expect online buying to dampen slightly if gas prices continue to eat into discretionary spending, it’s clear that e-commerce has become a mainstay in consumer behavior, driven by the attraction of both lower prices and convenience.”
The data suggests that smaller and mid-sized merchants are starting to garner a larger piece of the e-commerce pie. The top 25 online retailers’ share of all e-commerce sales remained at 67.7 percent for Q1, the same as during Q1 last year. But that’s still down from a 2010 high of about 70 percent.
The total number of online buyers rose 7 percent during the first quarter and transactions per buyer also increased by 9 percent, though the average dollar amount per online order did decrease by 4 percent.
The best performing product categories – video games, consoles and accessories, magazines and books, consumer electronics, software and computers/peripherals/PDA – all saw sales increases of at least 13 percent year over year.
Coupled with last week’s promising retail sales data from MasterCard Advisors, e-tailers are off to a great start in 2011. Is it going to keep up? Leave us your thoughts and comments below!