12 Significant eCommerce Holiday Trends; Including Over $21B Spent Online So Far In 2012: ComScore

With one out of ten discretionary dollars now spent online, e-commerce is a critical component of the 2012 shopping season, says comScore Chairman and Co-founder Gian Fulgoni. In a news release dated December 5, 2012, comScore reported on holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 32 days of the November–December 2012 holiday season, that $21.4 billion had been spent online, a 14-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.* It’s particularly noteworthy that half of the online population has made an e-commerce purchase thus far in the holiday season,” Fulgoni observed. As we reported in our blog post Nov. 28, 2012, 3 Major Holiday Shopping Trends, Black Friday online sales topped $1B for first time ever. 

Some trends that jump out about the Holiday Season & Ecommerce:

1. The season is beginning earlier & earlier every year.

2. Cyber Monday has become the biggest holiday shopping day.

3. Smartphones were the biggest seller.

4. Smartphones were the tool most used for shopping and comparison.

Fulgoni attributes some of these trends to retailers beginning advertising earlier which pulls buying earlier, noting that online retailers certainly wouldn't want to let the offline retailers get a leg up -- so they also ran deals to meet the demand expected in the offline world.

Here's a comScore Graph of Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  


Other highlights: 

5. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day of $633 million, up 32% over last year. Consumers are shifting when and how they do their holiday shopping. The season is beginning earlier and earlier every year. Also interesting is that online use was more attractive to people on Thanksgiving Day.

6.  Cyber Monday became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.46 billion, an increase of 17% over last year. Online retail boomed on Cyber Monday, thanks in part to shoppers browsing in stores and then buying online. “While Cyber Monday was a high point for holiday e-commerce spending and Cyber Week saw several strong spending days, there was a clear softening in the growth rate during the back half of the week,” said Fulgoni.

7.  Mobile devices/smartphones help set new records for Cyber Monday. 50% of mobile phone owners now use smartphones. Big buys included consumer electronics, computer hardware, and, an enormous number of smartphones… the devices that are changing the landscape being bought in tremendous quantities.

8.  Showrooming. Calling it "the physical retailer's worst nightmare," Fulgoni describes showrooming as when customers come into the store bearing their smartphones or tablets, engage salespeople, then check and buy online after getting the information and prices.

Some other interesting shopping and marketing notes you may not see anywhere else:

 9.  A high percentage of tablet usage occurs between 7 p.m. and midnight

10. Ordering from work is important. Monday after Thanksgiving when people went back to work, about half of online buying was being done on work computers -- presumably due to high speed and privacy. 

11. Pinterest users have a high affinity to online shopping.

12. Amazon was the top online retailer on Black Friday, followed by Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.


Online retailers are a force to be reckoned with as the whole face of retail continues to change. With one in every ten discretionary dollars spent online, retailers would do well to recognize that it's becoming a multi-channel world as we go through the season -- and beyond.

“That we are seeing growth come from an increase in both the number of buyers and the average spending per buyers suggests broad-based strength in the e-commerce sector,” added Mr. Fulgoni. It reflects not only the health of the e-commerce channel as more people buy online, but also the health of the consumer who has been willing to spend more online this year than last.

As these dramatic changes in mobile commerce continue to multiply, we continue to urge retailers to immerse themselves in mobile, as well as use the right competitive pricing intelligence tools and information to succeed and survive in today's and tomorrow's online retail world. 

Additional sources and videos used for this blog post included:

* comScore News Release December 5, 2012: US Online Holiday Spending Surpasses $21 Billion for First 32 Days of the November-December Shopping Season, up 14 Percent vs. Last Year.

Gian Fulgoni Tallies the Cyber Monday Scorecard 

Gian Fulgoni Discusses How Mobile Devices Drove A New Cyber Monday Record

Gian Fulgoni Shows How Online Retail is Changing the Shape of Holiday Shopping

Gian Fulgoni Shares How Cyber Monday Sales Exceeded the $1 Billion Mark


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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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