Reston, Va. A report released Tuesday by comScore said that online retail spending in fourth quarter 2009 reached $39 billion, up 3% versus a year ago.
Total retail e-commerce spending reached $129.8 billion for the full year in 2009, marginally below the previous year’s total of $130.1 billion.
According to the report, spending growth was driven by an increase in online buyers, while average spending per buyer saw modest declines. Dec. 15, a Tuesday, ranked as the heaviest U.S. online spending day in history at $913 million. And free shipping factored into more than 40% of e-commerce transactions during the holiday season.
“The fourth quarter, with 3% year-over-year growth, helped end what has been a disappointing year for online consumer spending on a more positive note,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “As we head into 2010, there is reason for guarded optimism for online retail spending to continue to gain share of consumers’ wallets.”
Fulgoni added that he expects absolute growth to be stymied by “continued high unemployment and the deleveraging that is occurring in the economy as consumers exercise their new-found propensity to save.”