December 21, 2009: Much of the East Coast will enjoy a white Christmas, but online retailers nationwide have been enjoying a green holiday season. E-retail spending for the first 48 days of the November – December 2009 holiday season has hit $24.8 billion, a 4% increase versus the corresponding days last year, according to research and marketing firm comScore.
Although the most recent week began on a slightly down note, with sales of $854 million on Dec. 14 - also known as Green Monday - off 1% versus year ago. But it was followed by three strong spending days that each surpassed $800 million. On Dec. 15, e-shoppers set one-day spending record with $913 million, the first such day ever to surpass the $900 million threshold.
The second-highest spend day of the season was Nov. 30, aka Cyber Monday, during which consumers spent $887 million online, a 5% increase from 2008. Green Monday came in third at $854 million, down from $859 million last year, per comScore. Green Monday occurs on the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas and tends to be the heaviest online spending day of the season.
“Going into this most recent week, we had anticipated that Monday or Tuesday would post the highest online spending total of the season and perhaps be the first day on record to surpass $900 million,” Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, said in a statement. “Despite a disappointing start to the week, with sales on Monday of $854 million down 1% versus 2008, we were encouraged to see spending continue strongly throughout the balance of the work week, led by Tuesday’s record $913 million."
According to Fulgoni, each day through Thursday Dec. 17, which was the last day that many online retailers would guarantee free shipping in time for Christmas, saw at least $800 million in spending, "which suggests that savvy consumers may have been waiting for those last-minute deals,” said Fulgoni.
During each week of the holiday season, at least 45% of all transactions included free shipping, outpacing the corresponding week in 2008, per comScore. The peak occurred during the week ending Dec. 6, with 50 % of all transactions including free shipping.
The average order value for online transactions peaked at $117 during the week ending Nov. 29, 2009 and week ending Dec. 6, 2009, also outpacing the corresponding weeks in 2008. For the week ending Nov. 29, the average order value for transactions including free shipping was $124 while the average order for those without free shipping was $111. For the week ending Dec. 6, the average order value for transactions including free shipping was $134 while the average order for those without free shipping was a much lower $103.
comScore said that this suggests free shipping offers "can be used creatively by retailers to incent consumers to spend more per order."
Ten Heaviest U.S. Online Retail Spending Days of 2009
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
1. Tuesday, Dec.15 $913M
2. Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 (Cyber Monday) $887M
3. Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 $886M
4. Wednesday, Dec. 16 $874M
5. Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 (Green Monday) $854M
6. Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 $852M
7. Tuesday, Dec. 8 $828M
8. Thursday, Dec. 17 $809M
9. Thursday, Dec. 3 $809M
10. Wednesday, Dec. 2 $797M