Saturday, January 1, 2011

What changed significantly in 2010? Answer: Gift shoppers flocked to the web. Online Christmas sales rose 15.4% as retailers offered free shipping and internet-only bargains that never was offered with such gusto in previous years. Yes, your wife doesn’t want to be robbed at the mall or followed by some weirdo to your home and then raped and murdered, but that only happens in Connecticut. Apparel at specialty stores rose in online sales the most by 25% this year.
U.S. Internet sales rose 15.4% to $36.4 billion between October 31st and December 23rd according to MasterCard Spending Plus which is a unit of MasterCard Advisors that tracks sales at 72,000 retailers. Sales over the internet now account for about 10% of all retail sales, excluding purchases of automobiles and gas. What Web shoppers bought this year, and where, reflect some big changes as well. The jump in clothing sales is surprising because traditionally consumers always wanted to touch and try on their cloths. Not any more. We’ll take that chance that it will look great after we purchase the garments.
Online holiday shopping tapers off by the third week of December, after retailers no longer guarantee that packages shipped by the cheapest methods will arrive by Christmas. But last minute Web shopping is becoming more popular. The number of people who shopped on line December 23rd still increased this year by about 25% from last years activity according to Coremetrics, a unit of IBM Corp. that tracks sales at 500 retailers. People spent more money too. The average late-season order climbed more than 15% to about $210 from $180 with the biggest gains in department and jewelry-store sales.

The amount shoppers spent online on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving grew a whopping 34.5% as web retailers such as Inc. pitched time-limited deals throughout the day. The total amount spent was $596 million, tiny compared to the $19 billion spent at all retailers that day, when walk in stores offer huge early-morning discounts. Yeah! Lets shop at 5AM. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing like sleeping on my day off. Still, the jump in online Black Friday sales “is pretty significant,” Spending Pulse’s Mr. MacNamara said, “perhaps signifying changes in the way folks want to shop. Retailers will continue to take advantage of folks who don’t want to fight crowds.” Lets go shopping honey! Get my computer, sit by the fireplace and a cup of coffee. Ahhh! Burn that credit card on line.

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