Prices at the Pump Send Americans Online

Shoppers spent 19 percent more online in April.

by staff writer
- May 06, 2011

Higher prices at the pump might be a good thing for online sellers, as the rising cost is pushing shoppers to look for ways to skip the drive to the store, experts say.

As gasoline prices surpassed $4 per gallon, online sales grew substantially with a 19.2-percent year-over-year increase in April, according to a report by MasterCard Advisors. Overall retail sales for the month increased by an estimated 7.7 percent.

This was the sixth month in a row that online sales grew by double digits, MasterCard Advisors notes.

"Our experience over the past several years suggests that [higher gas prices] can have a variety of repercussions for retail," says Michael McNamara, vice president of Research and Analysis for MasterCard Advisors. "First, we can expect consumers to make fewer shopping trips, especially on weekends, and this may contribute to an ever stronger growth for e-commerce."

In all, shoppers spent $13.8 billion online last month. Women's clothing and shoes saw particularly strong numbers online, increasing sales by 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Overall, total clothing sales were up by 10.4 percent compared to 2010. However, shoppers did tighten their belts on unnecessary items. Electronics, for instance, saw a drop of 1.8 percent, as did appliances, MasterCard Advisors reports.

And it looks as though shoppers are driving less. Overall, the amount of gas being pumped throughout the country has decreased, according to news reports.

About the Author

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.

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