EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 60 - December 22, 2001 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 7

Holiday Shopping Results

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Total Holiday Shopping Slowed in November,...
USA Today reports that after a record-breaking spending spree in October, consumers cooled their heels in November. But in December, according to a key index from University of Michigan, an improved stock market and hopes for economic recovery overshadowed concerns about job cuts.


...But Online, November Saw Increased Spending from Previous Month,...
Total U.S. spending on online sales increased from $3.6 billion in October to $4.9 billion in November, according to The Forrester Online Retail Index. The number of households shopping online increased to 16.8 million in November, from 13.7 million in October. Consumers spent an average of $293 per person in November, compared with $265 in October.


...And Third Quarter Online Sales are up from Same Quarter Last Year
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2001, not adjusted for seasonal, holiday, and trading-day differences, was $7.472 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent (3.0%) from the third quarter 2000. Total retail sales for third quarter 2001 were estimated at $786.6 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent (0.4%) from the same period a year ago.


Why Do People Shop Online? Convenience!
The convenience of shopping online remains the primary driver of shopping site traffic and sales, according to Retail Forward.

Top Reasons for Shopping Online:
Can shop anytime: 84%
Easier than shopping at stores/via catalogs: 65%
Dislike dealing with holiday crowds at malls/stores: 62%
Access to products, brands, stores not available where I live/work: 45%
Received special promotion(s) to purchase online: 38%

Source: Internet Users Consumer Panel, November 2001, Retail Forward, Inc.


Where Do People Shop Online? At Work!
Online shopping at work accounts for nearly half of all shopping activity, according to Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday eCommerce Index. The market research firm also noted that the top 4 e-tailers (excluding auction sites) for November in terms of traffic were 1) Amazon, 2) Columbia House, 3) ToysRus, and 4) Barnes and Noble. Traffic to Amazon is more than three times as large as the next e-tailer, reaching 31.5 million unique visitors.

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday eCommerce Index


How are YOUR Holiday sales?
Did you shop online this year? Post a note in the forums at

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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