US online spending during the
2007 holiday season (November and December) totaled $29.2 billion, a
19% increase over 2006, estimates comScore. comScore said that “Green Monday” (Monday, December 10) was the season’s heaviest
spending day online, ringing up $881 million in sales, a hefty 33% increase
over the same day in 2006.
Online spending was also heavy
on other notable days such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber
Monday. For each of these days, year-on-year sales growth exceeded the
19% growth rate for the entire holiday season. One explanation for this
is that consumers held back spending in early November in anticipation
of big promotions offered
later in the holiday season.
“Ultimately, the softness in the growth of online retail sales
during the first ten days of November proved difficult to overcome and
prevented the season’s growth rate from reaching our forecast of 20%," said Gian Fulgoni, Chairman of comScore.
comScore’s online holiday sales growth rate closely approximates
eMarketer’s forecast of 18.5%, published in November 2007. While 18.5%
growth is considered strong by most analysts, it is a noticeable drop
off from the prior year’s 24.8% rate and is the lowest online holiday
sales growth rate since at least 2003. Two reasons for forecasting
slower growth were a maturing e-commerce sector and a more difficult
economic time for consumers.
Forrester Research and JupiterResearch
also released pre-holiday season projections that online sales would
increase by at least 20%. Much of the variation in sales and growth
rates is due to different research methodologies.
Unlike eMarketer and Jupiter, both of which define the holiday
season as November and December, Forrester considers the holiday season
as Thanksgiving to Christmas, the period when online spending appears
to have ramped up. Forrester’s forecast also included online auctions
sales, which were excluded from eMarketer’s estimate.
Forecasts of total US retail sales growth (the vast majority of
which are store sales) for the 2007 holiday season paled in comparison
with forecasts of online holiday sales.
The consensus among leading research organizations was for sales growth