Online consumer spending to reach new high
Online spending by consumers totalled some US$80.8 billion in the first half of 2006, representing a 20.1% increase over the same period in 2005, according to figures published by comScore Networks.
During January to June 2006, online non-travel (i.e. retail) spending increased by 24.6% to US$46.1 billion, while travel spending reached US$34.7 billion (up 14.7% over the same period in 2005).
According to comScore, e-commerce spending by consumers is likely to reach a total of approximately US$170 billion by the end of 2006. Of that total, comScore estimates that non-travel e-commerce spending will account for some US$102 billion, breaking the US$100 billion threshold for the first time. Approximately US$24 billion is expected to be spent on non-travel during the holiday season (from 1st November to 31st December 2006).
Growth categories Several retail categories have achieved significant growth compared to 2005. Office supplies - the top gaining retail category - saw online spending rise by 54%, while computer software grew by 39%. Also reporting strong gains in the first half of 2006 were sport & fitness (up 38%), home & garden (up 36%), and toys & hobbies (up 33%).
"Despite the sluggishness of retail growth in general, online consumer spending remains strong," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman for comScore Networks. "Growth in non-travel online spending continues at a rate of 25% year-over-year, which suggests that consumers' online purchase behaviour has been relatively unaffected by the general economic trends. This news certainly bodes well for online retailers for the upcoming holiday season."