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Last Updated:[24-12-2009 06:54:09 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Blizzard Saves the Season for E-tailers in US

tradenews The snow storm that crippled the US during the final shopping weekend on December 19 and 20 became a blessing in disguise for e-commerce businesses as the total online sales recorded 13 percent growth compared to the same period last year. This was reported in the latest press release of comScore, a firm that evaluates the digital world and a source for internet marketing intelligence.

The e-commerce retail sales showed gradual improvement from quarter to quarter since the beginning of 2009, though the third quarter results marked the first advancement over last year's results. The e-tailers suffered a dramatic slide in sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 at 5.6 percent in comparison to the previous year, including the holiday shopping season owing to the onset of economic downturn in the said period.

On the contrary, the e-commerce gain inflicted losses to brick and mortar retailers particularly on the East Coast. Scott Bernhardt, CEO of Planalytics, which provides weather forecasts to businesses, said that retailers’ losses were estimated at about $2bn in sales. John Squire, chief strategy officer for Coremetrics, a Web analytics provider, observed that last-minute shoppers on the East Coast who had intended to hit the malls this weekend really had no option but to shop online.

Squire opined that typically, e-commerce sales dropped off during the weekend before Christmas because consumers were worried that their orders might not arrive in time. He added that but online retailers made a strong push this year to guarantee delivery dates, and increased promotions.

According to comScore, the week that ended Sunday, Dec. 20 boosted online spending by 6 percent, a new high in e-tail history to eclipse the record set just two weeks ago. The sales for the week ended Dec. 20 totaled $4.803bn as compared to $4.532bn of last year, and the weekend sales came in at $767mn up 13 percent from $677mn of last year.

The chairman of comScore said consumers had clearly continued to spend online later into the season this year, with several very strong spending days in the most recent week including the heaviest online spending day in history—Tuesday, Dec. 15 with $913mn. The comScore’s online sales data published for the first 50 days of the holiday season between Nov. 1 and Dec. 20 revealed the sales were up by 4 percent to reach $25.524bn from the previous year.

Amazon, Walmart, Apple.com and Best Buy were identified as the major e-commerce portals which made hay while the sun was not shining. The e-commerce industry hopes to have a better fourth quarter showing in the data which will be released by the US Census Bureau- Department of Commerce on February 16, 2010.

By Jose Roy

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