Gift-buying elves abandoning online shopping

John Shinal · November 25, 2008 · Short URL:

Grinch-like economy stifling holiday sales

 Holiday shopping online is shaping up to be as bad as the bricks-and-mortar variety this year.

One-third of the 500 consumers polled for the survey said they haven't begun their holiday shopping yet. 

ComScore says e-commerce has dropped 4% for the first three weeks of November compared to a year ago, and the market research firm predicts sales for the entire holiday season will be flat.

And that's the optimistic call, which assumes that no more financial bombs hit the U.S. economy. If the turmoil gets worse, "all bets are off," according to the report.

This follows a comScore estimate last week that online ad spending will rise a meager 1%. If there was any doubt that the recession has reached the Web economy, that's now over.

Sales for the first 10 months of the year were up 9% from a year earlier, to $102 billion. While that's less than half last year's comparable growth rate of 19%, it looks boom-like compared to the drop so far this month.

The pace of deceleration is what may be most alarming for retailers like, which get a good chunk of their revenue from sales in November and December. If holiday spending comes in as weak as comScore predicts, their full-year numbers might come up well short of estimates.


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