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Holiday Shopping Soars 30% in 2005; Toy Sales Plunge: Study

By Dec 30, 2005

Online shoppers spent $30.1 billion during 2005 holiday season, up 30% from 2004, according to the eSpending Report from Goldman Sachs, Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive.

At the same time, according to the eSpending Report, online holiday sales of toys and video games dropped 9%.

Disappointing sales of the new X-Box game player, consumers holding off for the new PlayStation-due out next year-and the lack of a single hot toy this year may have contributed to the drop, said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings.

The plunge in online toy and video game sales is remarkable “especially in such a gangbuster year where we saw an overall 30% increase in spending,” said Dougherty.

Meanwhile, according to the final Holiday eSpending Report for 2005, online shoppers spent the most holiday dollars on apparel during the 2005 holiday season. Online holiday shoppers spent $5.3 billion on apparel, up 42% from 2004.

The category that saw the highest growth in online holiday spending was computer hardware and peripherals. Online holiday shoppers spent $4.8 billion on computer hardware and peripherals this year, a 126% increase over 2004. Computer peripherals and hardware also was the No. 2 category in overall online holiday spending, according to the report.

Consumer electronics, the second fastest growing category, garnered $4.8 billion in online spending, jumping 109% from 2004, according to the report. Books, toys and video games rounded out the top five product categories, garnering $3 billion and $2.3 billion in online revenue, respectively, the report said. The books category jumped 66% in revenue from last year, compared to toys and video games, which fell 9% from the 2004 holiday season.

“Apparel remains one of the more dominant product categories during the holiday season, mirroring offline holiday retail behavior,” said Dougherty. “Computer hardware and consumer electronics had a stellar season with the price reductions for laptops, plasma TVs, color printers as well as high demand for iPods, digital cameras, and media accessories.”