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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 18, 2008

comScore: Free shipping boosts online sales

Through December 14, online shopping numbers were stagnant with 2007 numbers; while this isn't great news, it is still better than the forecasts expecting holiday shopping to plunge because of the economic situation in the US. One thing that is helping e-tailers this year is free shipping.

by Kristina Knight

comscore.gifAccording to the latest research from comScore, online shopping decreased 2% year over year between December 8 and December 14; prior to that etailers had seen a 2% increase (December 1 through December 14). That leads to the 0% increase thus far year over year.

Although consumers are buying online, they are curbing their spending compared with year's past. Free shipping offers, however, are helping to bring more consumers back to their favorite online hubs. comScore researchers have found that the amount of money spent by consumers online is directly related to the free shipping offers that are received.

"Free shipping has emerged as a critically important incentive for online shoppers, and its importance has been magnified in the current retail environment," said Gian Fulgoni, comScore Chairman. "The most recent week has shown retailers that now is not the time to pull back on the offers that are successfully persuading consumers to spend. Fortunately, the final full week of online holiday shopping will feature an array of attractive free shipping deals, including the industry's promotion of Friday, December 18 as "free shipping day", the final day for consumers to place their orders with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Consumers will hopefully respond by once again opening their wallets to help this challenging season end on a high note."

Tags: comScore, ecommerce, free shipping, holiday sales, online shopping

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