Online Spending Still Increasing but Slow Economy Could Eventually Halt Growth

Sept. 12, 2011

comScore Inc., the Reston, Va.-based measurement company recently released its Q2 2011 U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates, which showed that online retail spending reached $37.5 billion for the quarter, up 14 percent versus year ago. It marked the seventh consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates. At some point, however, the continuing economic headwinds could present a problem for online sales, according to comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. “The second quarter of 2011 saw a continuation of this year’s solid double-digit growth trends in online spending, well ahead of the rate of growth in consumers’ overall spending,” Fulgoni said. “However, with economic growth remaining soft, the unemployment rate stubbornly high and financial markets in turmoil, consumers are less optimistic today than they have been in preceding quarters, which raises concerns for the future. We believe the third quarter will be an important indicator of which direction this economy is really headed and what that will mean for consumer spending.” The Q2 report also round the top 25 online retailers accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total spent online. Also, the 14-percent bump for the quarter was primarily a function of an increase in the number of buyers (up 16 percent), with 70 percent of all Internet users making at least one online purchase in the quarter.