Online Holiday Shopping Hits All-Time High

Despite the tepid economy, consumers turned out in droves for online holiday shopping, and retailers recorded record sales on cyber Monday and throughout the rest of cyber week.

According to comScore, consumers spent nearly $6 billion over the course of “cyber week,” from November 28-Dec. 2. That amount was up 15% from the corresponding week in 2010.

In addition, comScore reported that $18.7 billion during the 32 days of the November-December 2011 holiday season, marking a 15% increase over last year.

One of the reasons for this, according to comScore, is that consumers were fain to take advantage of free shipping deals, which were offered this year in abundance. More than half of all transactions analyzed by comScore included free shipping. The week of Thanksgiving (ending Nov. 27) saw free shipping on 64.4 percent of transactions, and the following week (Cyber Week) saw free shipping on 63.2 percent of transactions. For the week ending 12/4/2011 transactions involving free shipping were up 11 percentage points from the same week in 2010.

Does this mean retailers will see big margins? According to comScore’s Gian Fulgoni that remains to be seen.

“As the deals from this week expire, it will be important to see the degree to which consumers return to the same retailers to continue their holiday shopping, thereby helping improve retailers’ profit margins, or if we experience a pullback in consumer spending – which has occurred in previous years – before promotional offers and spending intensity pick back up in earnest around mid-December.”

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