FINANCE

ComScore: Online spending up 13% to $36 billion in Q3

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — Online retail spending reached $36.3 billion for the third quarter of 2911, up 13% versus year ago, according to comScore. This growth rate represented the eighth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates.

The top-performing online product categories were: digital content & Subscriptions, event tickets, jewelry & watches, consumer electronics (excl. computer peripherals) and computer software. Each category grew at least 15% versus a year ago, comScore reported.

“The third quarter of 2011 saw a continuation of the year’s strength in U.S. retail e-commerce spending, even in the face of renewed economic headwinds and uncertainty facing the U.S. consumer,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “More consumers than ever before are relying on the online channel for product and pricing information, which along with the Internet’s fundamental appeal of convenience and attractive pricing, are contributing to the sustained upward momentum in e-commerce spending.”

Other highlights from third quarter 2011 include:

  • The 13% increase was primarily a function of an increase in the number of buyers (up 22%), with 74% of all Internet users making at least one online purchase in the quarter.
  • Forty percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, down from a peak of 49% percent in fourth quarter 2010. Free shipping rates tend to peak during the holiday season.
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OPERATIONS

Conference Board survey finds holiday shoppers in frugal mood

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $497 on gifts this holiday season, The Conference Board reported. Only 7% of consumers said they plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, while approximately 49% plan on spending less than last year.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. It was conducted in October.

"As the holiday season approaches, we once again find consumers in a frugal mood," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "With the overwhelming majority of consumers expecting to spend the same or less than they did last year, it’s not surprising that they expect a large share of their purchases to be on sale or discounted."

Four out of 10 holiday shoppers say they expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. An additional three out of 10 expect a quarter to half of their purchases to be discounted.

Close to two-thirds of consumers expect to purchase a portion of their holiday gifts online, with about 15% saying more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

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OPERATIONS

Old Navy to offer Shopkick location-based shopping app

BY Staff Writer

Palo Alto, Calif. — Shopkick, the location-based shopping app, announced that Old Navy has joined its partner alliance, with Shopkick walk-in rewards to be live in all of Old Navy’s nearly 1,000 U.S. locations. To celebrate, Old Navy will offer $10 off of a $40 purchase plus 150 Shopkick reward points for the partnership’s first weekend (Nov. 10 – Nov. 13), available exclusively through the Shopkick app.

"Old Navy customers are mobile-savvy, leveraging smart phone technology and apps on a daily basis," said Kate Dickman, senior director, digital marketing at Old Navy. "Using Shopkick, we’re able to share our latest fashions and deals with her in a straightforward, relevant way. It’s another powerful tool to help keep Old Navy top-of-mind while offering us real evidence that she’s come into our store for those particular items."

To provide high-value rewards to shoppers actually walking-in to Old Navy stores, the Shopkick app detects a Shopkick signal, emitted from a patent-pending device located in each participating store and picked up by a shopper’s phone’s microphone. Because the store knows it’s rewarding actual visitors, it then delivers rewards called "kicks," which can be collected at all participating partner store locations. Kicks are redeemed for in-store gift cards, song downloads, movie tickets, Facebook Credits, donations to 30 different causes and charities and more.

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