Online shopping sales up 14% in second quarter

Faith Merino · August 8, 2011 · Short URL:

This marks the third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth since 2008, comScore finds

I have good news and bad news.  The bad news is that the Monday after S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+ for the first time, stocks predictably tanked as shareholders panicked and bailed.  The good news is that consumers are still lazy and would rather buy diapers online than go to the store, according to a report released by comScore, which found that eCommerce sales were up 14% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to last year.  This marks the third consecutive quarter in which eCommerce sales have seen double-digit growth, so while everyone is pulling their money out of the stock market, now is the time to snap up Amazon shares.

The chart that comScore released with its report paints a pretty optimistic picture.  Sales are climbing at a steady pace for another quarter of double-digit growth as consumers shopped online and spent $37.5 billion.  By comparison, in Q2 2010, online shoppers spent $32.9 billion in eCommerce transactions.  Is it time to celebrate our victory over the recession?  Not yet, says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

“It's clear that consumers are continuing to shift to the online channel, with almost $1 in every $10 of discretionary spending now occurring online,” said Fulgoni.  “At the same time, we are constantly reminded of an overall macroeconomic situation that is not indicative of a strong recovery. With economic growth remaining soft, the unemployment rate stubbornly high and financial markets in turmoil, consumers are less optimistic today than they have been in preceding quarters, which raises concerns for the future.”

So when can we start sleeping easy at night?  Fulgoni believes the third quarter will give us a definitive answer as to which way the economy is headed.

But here’s a little confidence booster for the tech industry: when it comes to what shoppers are buying online, consumer electronics leads the top-performing eCommerce categories, followed by computer hardware, computer software, and event tickets. 

Interestingly, the report noted that small to mid-sized online retailers are starting to inch their way up in market share.  The top 25 eCommerce companies accounted for 66.4% of money spent online, which is down from 67.7% last year, and down from the all-time peak of 69.9%. 

Another interesting factoid: 70% of all Internet users made at least one online purchase last quarter.


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