US Retail Cyber Spending Sets New Record of $6 Billion

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US e-retail sales are expected to grow 10% a year until 2015. (Image: Stock.xchng)
US e-retail sales are expected to grow 10% a year until 2015. (Image: Stock.xchng)

BUSINESS

  • Cyber Monday hit an all-time high of $1.25 billion in online sales
  • Retailer’s free shipping promotion lends itself to increased holiday online spend
  • Online sales are up 15% from last year to $18.7 billion

Online retailers have registered a record breaking shopping surge, grossing $6 billion in US revenue during Cyber Week 2011, which followed Black Friday.

In a quote from the chairman of comScore, a leader in digital measurement and analytics, Gian Fulgoni stated: “Cyber Monday kicked the week off with a bang, but it was only the beginning of a very strong week of online holiday spending.”

According to comScore’s report, while Cyber Monday boasted an estimated $1.25 billion dollars in online sales, the following Tuesday and Wednesday also reached billion dollar revenue days of $1.12 billion and $1.03 billion, respectively. These $3 billion revenue days alone rank as three of the four biggest cyber spending days in the history of online retail sales.

Free Shipping Huge Factor in Online Sale Success

comScore’s report further indicated that retail e-commerce spending to date for this year’s holiday season is up 15% at $18.7 billion as compared to last year. To entice cyber shoppers, one of the most prevalent incentives offered by online retailers is free shipping. As proof this promotion works, nearly two-thirds of all Cyber Week transactions took advantage of the free shipping options.

However, free shipping is no longer viewed as an exception by most online shoppers, it is quickly becoming an expected norm.

Fulgoni says: “Free shipping is one of the most important incentives that online retailers must provide during the holiday season to ensure that shoppers will convert into buyers. In fact, more than three-quarters of consumers say that free shipping is important to them when making an online purchase, and nearly half say they will abandon their shopping cart at checkout if they find free shipping is not being offered.”

Despite its overall cost, free shipping does offer benefits to online retailers. In addition to being an impetus towards higher average order values, this incentive has sparked its own marketing event known as Free Shipping Day – which usually occurs mid-December.

Free Shipping Day has traditionally helped boost online spending as shoppers get later into the holiday season. According to comScore, last year’s Free Shipping Day represented the third-largest online spending day of 2010.

Key Statistics - Online Sales in the US (source: Forrester Research)

  • In 2011, online sales in the US market should total $197 billion, up from $176 billion last year.
  • US e-retail sales are expected to grow 10% a year until 2015.
  • In 2015, US e-retail sales should total nearly $280 billion.
  • Online sales should account for 11% of all retail sales and 15% of all grocery sales by 2015.

By Laurie Juliano-Bachara for
Laurie Juliano-Bachara is a Chicago-based writer who covers the latest topics in professional services, entertainment and business news.

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