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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 11, 2009

$16 billion spent during holidays - so far

Etailers may not be making huge bank so far this holiday shopping season, but they are reaping some larger than expected rewards. According to metrics firm comScore just over $16 billion has been spent online and that is only for the first 36 days of the famously busy November/December shopping season. More importantly, more links in the chain of social spending are being formed each day.

by Kristina Knight

comscore.gifThe report finds that nearly one-third (28%) of shoppers are being influenced by social media, a trend that will only continue in 2010.

">First, the spending numbers.

The report finds that the week of December 6 brought in $4.6 billion, with Thanksgiving Day ($318 million), Black Friday ($595 million) and Cyber Monday ($887 million) all seeing banner spending numbers. In fact Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw increases in spending over the 10% mark.

"After a strong beginning to the week, we saw growth rates decelerate over the weekend to put this past week of holiday shopping in line with our 3 percent growth forecast for the season," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "We are anticipating heavy spending for the current week, making it an important determinant for how the holiday season as a whole will perform. Hopefully, we'll see a return to the growth rates we observed during the earlier part of this past week and that the weekend softness was just a temporary hiccup."

A new Borrell Associates report also finds that coupons are pushing more purchases this holiday season. Researchers have found coupons use up by 36% year over year with a good number of coupons being used online. About 20% of online coupon redemptions are currently from Internet-only coupons.

Perhaps the most important development, though, isn't the total amount spent but the fact that ecommerce is quickly becoming tied into social media. Researchers are seeing a new trend of online shoppers looking to their favorite social networks for product reviews, information and friends' product purchases before buying a thing.

How is social networking effecting the holiday spend?

• 28% of consumers report being influenced to buy by social media
• 13% of consumers read reviews and personal blogs for product information
• 7% are following branded 'fan pages' within social networks
• SocNet friend purchases have influenced about 6% of purchases

"[Social media's] emergence is being driven by increased consumer adoption of these technologies and the exponential growth in digital word-of-mouth that is occurring over this medium," said Fulgoni.

Although many etailers and small businesses have said they will begin looking into social media strategies in the new year, this is a clear indicator that not only should businesses investigate social strategies but they should also be ready to implement these strategies as quickly as possible to better engage consumers.

Tags: Borrell Associates, comScore, coupons, ecommerce, holiday shopping, holiday spend, online shopping, social marketing, social media, social networks, social shopping

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