Online shopping brought in $30.1 billion during the 2005 holiday season, a 30% increase in online spending in the U.S. over 2004, according to a recent survey.
The fifth annual Holiday eSpending Report from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive found that online shoppers spent the most on apparel/clothing, totaling $5.3 billion, up 42%. Computer hardware/peripherals ranked second at $4.8 billion, up a whopping 126%.
“E-commerce is gaining ground among consumers during the holiday season due to its convenience, product selection and lower prices,” said Heather Dougherty, Nielsen//NetRatings senior retail analyst, in a statement. “Holiday shoppers are diligent about finding the best price. The continued popularity of search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, highlights the ease of researching product selection and availability, and with a longer shopping season, it was much easier to wait for additional price reductions.”
Consumer electronics sales rose a healthy 109% to $4.8 billion, thanks to price reductions on laptops and plasma TVs, and high consumer demand for iPods and digital cameras, Dougherty said.
Books and toys/video games rounded out the top five product categories, earning $3 billion (up 66%) and $2.3 billion (down 9%), respectively.
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores still accounted for 68% of total 2005 holiday spending, but that share has dropped 10 percentage points from 2002. Online sales have increased 11 percentage points since then to account for 27% of total holiday spending. Catalog sales fell to 5% of total 2005 spending, down from 6% percent in 2002.
Consumer satisfaction reached a high: 64% of survey respondents said they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their online shopping experience. Six percent said they were either very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied, compared to 8% of respondents over the last three years.
“More consumers are taking advantage of the benefits of e-commerce to avoid holiday crowds and purchase competitively priced gifts,” Dougherty said. “Many of the free shipping promotions help level the playing field among the sales channels, which elevates satisfaction amongst online shoppers.”
The Holiday eSpending Report surveyed 8,600 consumers throughout the holiday shopping season.