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Consumers spent more than $42 billion online during holidays

December 27, 2013

The amount of money spent by U.S. consumers at online payment processing pages during the holiday season has literally been record setting.

The amount of money spent by U.S. consumers at online payment processing pages during the holiday season has literally been record setting.

During the 52 days following Nov. 1, U.S. consumers have spent $42.8 billion from desktop computers, according to the latest results from comScore. That’s an increase of 10 percent from 2012. In fact, consumers spent more than $1 billion on 10 separate days during that timeframe, including spending a record $1.735 billion collectively on Cyber Monday alone. 

However, that is fewer $1 billion days than were recorded during 2012. ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni guessed that this may have been due, in part, to both heavy discounting and a compressed calendar that offered less days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than were in play last year. 

“Our expectations for the online holiday shopping season anticipated that consumers would spend heavily later into the season out of necessity to make up for the highly compressed holiday shopping calendar this year,” said Fulgoni. “Unfortunately that was not in the cards, as the final online shopping week saw considerably softer sales than anticipated, including zero billion dollar spending days – although Monday and Tuesday came close.”

Fulgoni went on to note that this holiday season was one where absolute gains in sales were limited by heavy price discounting, illustrating the extent to which retailers were slicing prices in the competition for consumer dollars.

Some industries saw more success than others, according to comScore. Video game consoles and accessories ranked as the top-gaining product year-over-year, followed by apparel, consumer electronics, computer hardware, and home and garden supplies, respectively. 

Consumers purchased so much that many deliveries were delayed
U.S. consumers ordered so many products from online credit card terminals in the week leading up to Christmas, in fact, that United Parcel Service failed to fulfill every order scheduled for delivery. Reuters recently reported that UPS was faced with such a high volume of holiday packages for delivery – many of them coming from e-commerce companies – that the company found itself overwhelmed in terms of both shipping and logistics. 

Company spokeswoman Natalie Black told Reuters that UPS had expected to deliver 132 million packages last week – but the actual number of packages sent was far higher. 

“For now, UPS is really focused on delivering the remaining packages,” Black told the news outlet. “You might not see trucks, but people are working.”

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