Holiday shoppers spent 15 percent more online in the week after Thanksgiving than a year ago—and free shipping offers may have played a big role in the increase.
comScore reports that online sales during a period it's calling Cyber Week—Nov. 28 to Dec. 2—totaled $5.96 billion, up from $5.16 billion during the same week of 2010. The research firm also notes that from Nov. 1 to Dec. 2, e-commerce retail spending reached $18.7 billion, a 15-percent increase from the $16.3 billion shoppers spent online during the same period last year.
The highest increases were seen on Black Friday (26 percent) and Cyber Monday (22 percent), which was the heaviest online spending day on record.
"Cyber Monday kicked the week off with a bang as consumers opened their wallets to the tune of $1.25 billion, but it was only the beginning of a very strong week of online holiday spending," says comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.
The report also indicates that free shipping is becoming a more prevalent seasonal promotion by online retailers, and a key incentive for shoppers to make purchases.
"Free shipping is one of the most important incentives that online retailers must provide during the holiday season to ensure that shoppers will convert into buyers," Fulgoni said.
comScore surveyed approximately 1,000 Internet users to measure the importance of free shipping. More than one-third of the respondents said they wouldn't make a purchase without it, and 42 percent said it's "somewhat important" and they'll actively seek out free shipping deals.
Retailers are taking note and, during Cyber Week, 63.2 percent of transactions included free shipping, up 11 percent compared to last year, according to the report.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.