Estimates for retail e-commerce sales released recently show that money spent for online retail in the United States has reached $44.3 billion for the first quarter of this year, an amount 17 percent higher than last year’s estimates for Q1. This has been the tenth consecutive annual growth for the first quarter alone, and also the sixth time when growth in the first quarter has two digits.
Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, said:
The first quarter of this year was especially strong for retail e-commerce as we returned to year-over-year growth rates in the high teens, numbers we haven’t seen since 2007. While the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating. This presents opportunities but also challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers if they can’t hold onto their offline market share in the digital world. E-commerce has reached critical mass in several product categories, and it will be important to monitor these sales trends by category in order to correctly gauge the impact e-commerce is having on overall retailer performance.
The most active product categories sold online are (1) digital content and subscriptions, (2) computer software, (3) consumer electronics, (4) jewellery and watches, and (5) and event tickets. Each of these categories has had a roughly 7 percent growth in sales in comparison to last year’s. Moreover, 48.8 percent of the transactions done online had free shipping with sales peaking during the holidays. Apart from this quarter, the only quarters higher are Q4 2011 with 51.8 percent and Q4 2010 with 49.3 percent.
The report also shows that 38 percent of those who use tablet computers have had transactions through their tablets within April, and the most popular product category to tablet users was clothing and the like.