E-commerce spending continues to rise as more consumers look to online retail channels to purchase goods. comScore just released its online retail numbers for the third quarter of 2011, and online retail spending in the U.S. reached $36.3 billion for the quarter, up 13 percent versus year ago.
This is the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth and fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates in e-commerce. In Q2 of this year, spending was up 14 percent from last year.
The top-performing online product categories were Digital Content & Subscriptions, Event Tickets, Jewelry & Watches, Consumer Electronics and Computer Software. Spending in each category grew at least 15 percent compared to a year ago.
comScore says the growth in overal spending in the quarter was due to an increase in the number of buyers, which is up 22 percent. According to the report, 74 percent of all Internet users mad at least one online purchase in the quarter. That’s up from 70 percent in Q2 of this year.
And 40 percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping. Of course, this is down from a peak of 49 percent in Q4 2010 but free shipping offers tend to peak during the holiday season.
Despite the unrest in the financial markets, comScore still believes in the ‘continued health’ of the holiday shopping season. Especially as more consumers rely on online shopping deals, free shipping, comparison pricing products and more, online shopping may continue to be strong in Q4 of 2011.
Of course, we’ll start seeing signs of whether holiday spending has seen an uptick soon. Now that we’re weeks away from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it will be interesting to see if the current state of the economy has any effect on spending this year.