FINANCE

comScore puts holiday desktop e-commerce spending at $46.5 billion

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — A total of $46.5 billion was spent online from desktop devices for the full November-December 2013 holiday season, an increase of 10% versus a year ago, according to comScore. While the total represents a record for online holiday spending and a double-digit gain from last year, it nevertheless fell short of comScore’s forecasted 14% growth of $48.1 billion in desktop spending.

“With just three weeks of online shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas, consumers did not have the same opportunity to buy that they would have in a more typical holiday season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"Ultimately, it seems that spending softness relative to expectations was mainly the result of the compressed holiday calendar They made up for it to some extent by spending significantly more online on the weekends, but so many fewer workdays provided a headwind for the season that ultimately proved very challenging to overcome. That said, it should also be noted that many consumers continue to be challenged economically, which forced retailers to offer large price discounts in an attempt to stimulate demand. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of reducing total dollar sales since consumers could buy more for less."

For the 2013 holiday season, apparel & accessories ranked as the top-gaining product category with a gain of more than 13% versus a year ago and outpacing consumer electronics (bolstered by smartphone sales) by a razor thin margin. computer hardware (bolstered by tablet sales) ranked third by fractions of a percentage point, while toys & hobbies and video game consoles & accessories rounded out the top five.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

H&M to air interactive TV ad during Super Bowl

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Fast-fashion retailer H&M will debut what is being called the first “shoppable TV commercial” during the upcoming Super Bowl. The 30-second ad, which will utilize Delivery Agent’s “t-commerce” platform, will promote David Beckham’s bodwear line, which is sold at H&M.

The in-commercial buying will only be available on "select Samsung Smart TVs.

According to reports, a small part of the screen will present a pop-up menu while the ad runs on the larger part of the screen. The menu will offer product information, the ability to send that information to another device and the option to buy the product directly. And the ad will remain interactive for viewers who rewind to it using their DVRs.

“This is a game-changer for the advertising industry," said Mike Fitzsimmons, Delivery Agent CEO. "With the upcoming launch of the t-commerce-enabled H&M Super Bowl XLVIII ad, we are collectively redefining the power and effectiveness of television advertising. Years ago, the world talked about the potential associated with buying Jennifer Aniston’s sweater. H&M, in an industry first, will now realize that potential by making their Super Bowl XLVIII ad actionable and directly measurable."

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FINANCE

Grupo Gigante to sell shares in Office Depot Mexico

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — On Tuesday, Mexican retail company Grupo Gigante said in a regulatory filing that it will list shares in Office Depot de Mexico, the local division of the U.S. office-supply chain it purchased last year.

The listing would be public in Mexico and private in the United States and other markets.

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