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BizReport : Ecommerce : November 26, 2008

comScore: Online holiday shopping growth to be flat

Based on online shopping trends thus far in the 2008 holiday shopping period, metrics firm comScore is predicting that overall ecommerce activity will be flat for the season. comScore bases the forecast on the first 23 days of November, the beginning of the holiday shopping season; thus far, $8.2 billion has been spent in online hubs.

by Kristina Knight

comscore.gifThat is a 4% decline over 2007 numbers.

"Despite the recent reprieve that plummeting gas prices have given American consumers, the depressed and volatile stock market, declining housing prices, inflation and the weak job market all represent dark clouds hanging over their heads this holiday shopping season," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "With consumer confidence low and disposable income tight, the first weeks of November have been very disappointing, with online retail spending declining versus year ago. It's also likely that some budget-conscious consumers are planning to wait to buy until later in the season to take advantage of retailers' even more aggressive discounting."

This forecast is disturbing when overall shopping numbers from 2007 are taken into account. During the holiday shopping period in 2007, online shopping grew 19%. So far in 2008 online shopping has had revenues of just over $102 billion; a 9% increase over January - October shopping revenues in 2007.

There is good news, however. In the first holiday shopping survey from comScore, about 33% of consumers said they had not begun holiday shopping yet. The worse news is that more than 40% of consumers say they will purchase fewer gifts and will buy less expensive gifts this holiday season.

Tags: ecommerce trends, holiday sales, holiday sales forecast, online shopping

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