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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 06, 2009

comScore: Ecommerce down in Q3

The mall in your town may have a lot of traffic but chances are that traffic still isn't buying like it was a year or two ago. The same is true of online traffic. According to a new comScore report ecommerce spending (non-travel) is down 2% year over year, an indicator that the holiday spend may also be down this year.

by Kristina Knight

According to the report the online retail spend came in just above ">$29 million for the quarter; this is the first time that consecutive quarters have shown decreased spending. The downswing began in Q4 2008, when ecommerce decreased by 3% - particularly surprising because that was the holiday shopping season. In Q1 2009 there was no change year over year, but in Q2 spending decreased 1%. So the total spend is actually down about 6% from Q4 2008.

"The third quarter showed negative marginal growth for the second consecutive quarter - the first time on record we've witnessed sustained dips in U.S. e-commerce spending, small though the declines may be," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "The good news is that these declines may finally be in our rear view mirror, as we anticipate marginally positive growth for the fourth quarter. With retailers gearing up for the online holiday shopping bonanza, and a fourth quarter that will include easier comparisons against year ago, we are hopeful that this Christmas season will be merrier than the last."

So far, the usual suspects are being trotted out to entice online shoppers. Nearly half of ecommerce transactions included free shipping, but free shipping is likely not going to be enough in the future as consumers have come to expect free shipping from online hubs, even the online locations of their favorite big-box or brick-and-mortar stores.

"[It's] clear that consumers respond favorably to this incentive and in many cases have come to expect it from retailers. The retailers who do not offer free shipping deals this holiday season may find themselves at a significant disadvantage versus those who do," said Fulgoni.

Tags: comScore, ecommerce, ecommerce forecast, ecommerce spend, online shopping, shopping forecast

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