Online Retail Sales Set New Record in Q4, Topping $43 Billion
Thanks in part to a gradual return of consumer confidence, online retailers posted record sales in the fourth quarter last year, marking the fifth consecutive period of year-over-year growth, according to online metrics firm comScore.
In the all-important fourth quarter, Internet merchants raked in $43.4 billion in sales, up 11 percent from the same period in 2009.
In addition to record overall sales for the three-month period, the holiday season was punctuated by multiple days that set individual bests.
"The 2010 holiday season saw the first billion-dollar day on record and several more surpassing $900 million to help propel Q4 to record spending levels," comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. Fulgoni explained that "holiday season spending was bolstered by an improving sentiment among some consumer segments and by retailers' discounting and promotions."
According to comScore's tally, the fourth quarter was the second period of the year to post double-digit annual growth, with first-quarter sales jumping 10 percent. In both the second and third quarters, sales increased 9 percent.
For much of the last decade, annual growth rates in the ecommerce sector soared at around 20 percent. But as the economy sank into recession throughout 2008, that growth trailed off, and in the fourth quarter of that year, sales actually shrank by 3 percent.
Then in the first quarter of 2009, sales were flat, but dipped 1 percent and 2 percent in the second and third quarters, respectively. Online retailers returned to modest positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, before vaulting to the double-digit increase in the first period this year.
The continued strength the sector has enjoyed throughout 2010 gives Fulgoni confidence that the worst of the economic downturn is in the past. "We anticipate that the progress we've seen in the past year as we climbed out of the recession will continue with sustained double-digit growth rates in 2011," he said.
In the most recent period, the strongest-performing categories were computer software, consumer electronics, computers and peripherals, and toys and hobbies, with sales in each posting annual growth of at least 15 percent.
The heavyweights of the industry claimed the lion's share of the proceeds during the quarter, with the 25 largest Internet retailers accounting for 68.4 percent of all sales. While that proportion represented a 5.6 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2009, comScore noted that it was a decline from the third quarter, indicating that smaller and midsized retailers are also bouncing back from the downturn.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!|
The Keys to Deliverability Success: Exclusive eSeminar featuring Forrester Research Live Event Date: June 20, 2013 @ 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT From marketing to IT, message deliverability affects every aspect of your business....
Webinar: Should You "Switch-Off" Your ACD? Hear Why CareFirst BCBS is Switching to a SIP-based Contact Center Event Date and Times: Wednesday May 29, 2 PM Eastern / 11 AM Pacific Wednesday...
DDoS Mitigation: Best Practices for a Rapidly Changing Threat Landscape Given the extraordinary and rapid changes in the DDoS terrain, traditional DDoS mitigation tactics are no longer sufficient to protect an...
Data Protection Made Simple Increasing demands placed on IT, along with tightening budgets has prompted IT leaders to seek out alternative technologies and improved methods of...