Online spending growth grinds to halt

John Shinal · November 19, 2008 · Short URL:

Economic downturn hits e-commerce hard in October

 The recession has come to the Web.

Online spending growth slowed to just 1 percent in October from a year earlier, the weakest since comScore began tracking e-commerce seven years ago.

The rate has been in the single digits for the last four months, and the latest figure is a dramatic fall-off from the same time last year, when e-commerce was growing near 20 percent.

The comScore report showed a dramatic difference in income segments. Households earning less than $50,000 per year cut spending by 3%, while those earning more than $100,000 spent at a still-healthy 14 percent. For those in between, spending growth was essentially flat.

Those numbers suggest most of the spending online is coming from those earning less than $100,000.

With the worst of the financial crisis beginning in September, the trend is likely to get worse before it gets better.

It bodes ill for the upcoming holiday spending season.

The bright lining is that online shopping is likely to hold up better than offline, since it saves time and money for consumers hard pressed to save both.

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