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US online retail hits $50bn

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comScore released its Q4 2011 U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates, which showed that online retail spending reached $49.7 billion for the quarter, up 14 percent versus year ago.

This growth rate represented the ninth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates. For the entire 2011 year, U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached a record $161.5 billion, marking a 13-percent increase from 2010.

Retail E-Commerce (Non-Travel) Growth Rates Excludes Auctions, Autos and Large Corporate Purchases Total U.S. ‚ Home & Work Locations Source: comScore, Inc.

Quarter

E-Commerce Spending ($ Millions)

Y/Y Percent Change

Q1 2007

$27,970

17%

Q2 2007

$27,176

23%

Q3 2007

$28,441

23%

Q4 2007

$39,132

19%

Q1 2008

$31,178

11%

Q2 2008

$30,581

13%

Q3 2008

$30,274

6%

Q4 2008

$38,071

-3%

Q1 2009

$31,031

0%

Q2 2009

$30,169

-1%

Q3 2009

$29,552

-2%

Q4 2009

$39,045

3%

Q1 2010

$33,984

10%

Q2 2010

$32,942

9%

Q3 2010

$32,133

9%

Q4 2010

$43,432

11%

Q1 2011

$38,002

12%

Q2 2011

$37,501

14%

Q3 2011

$36,308

13%

Q4 2011

$49,698

14%

‚The fourth quarter of 2011 capped off what was yet another strong year for online retail, one in which every quarter achieved double-digit increases versus the prior year,‚ said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. ‚In the face of continuing uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy, consumers increasingly went online for their shopping needs. Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for e-commerce, and unless those conditions change we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012 and perhaps even an acceleration in the current growth trend.‚

Other highlights from Q4 2011 include:

· The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Jewelry & Watches, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, and Computer Software. Each category grew at least 18 percent vs. year ago.

· Ten individual days in Q4 surpassed $1 billion in online spending, led by Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) at $1.251 billion. Monday, Dec. 5 ranked second at $1.178 billion, followed by Green Monday (Dec. 12) at $1.133 billion.

· 52 percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, representing an all-time high. The previous high was Q4 2010 at 49 percent.

· Smartphones and tablets played a growing role in online shopping, with consumers increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in a retail store.

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