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comScore: Retail e-commerce up 15% over last year

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Reston, Va. — A report released Thursday by comScore found that retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose to $186.2 billion in 2012, an increase of 15% and the strongest annual growth rate since before the recession.

Fourth quarter 2012 sales grew 14% year-over-year to $56.8 billion, marking the first-ever $50 billion quarter. It also represents the 13th consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

"2012 was a year in which – for the most part – e-commerce continued to grow strongly, despite an uneven macroeconomic environment showing signs of recovery but also cause for continued concern," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "With e-commerce growth rates consistently in the mid-teens throughout the year, it is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience and selection.”

Fourth-quarter e-commerce highlights include:

  • The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, Apparel & Accessories, and Books & Magazines. Each category grew at least 15% versus a year ago.
  • U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached 10% of total U.S. retail spending for comparable categories (excluding food, gas & auto), the first time reaching double-digits.
  • The 14% year-over-year growth in fourth quarter was driven by a 6% increase in the number of buyers and an 8% increase in spending per buyer.
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E-commerce now 10% of total retail sales

BY CSA STAFF

Online sales returned to pre-recession growth levels in 2012, advancing 15% to a record $186.2 billion, according to a year end recap by online measurement firm comScore.

The record setting year marked the first time that e-commerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales reached double digits (10%) and was capped by a fourth quarter in which e-commerce sales reached unprecedented levels. Online sale increased 14% to $56.8 billion in the fourth quarter, the first time quarterly sales have surpassed $50 billion, according to comScore. The growth was driven by a combination of traffic and transaction size with a 6% increase in the number on online buyers and an 8% increase in spending per buyer.

The firm added that the fourth quarter was the thirteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Online retail, like all of retail, went through a difficult period from the fourth quarter of 2008 through the first three quarter of 2009 when sales either declined or were flat.

"2012 was a year in which, for the most part, e-commerce continued to grow strongly, despite an uneven macroeconomic environment showing signs of recovery but also cause for continued concern," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "With e-commerce growth rates consistently in the mid-teens throughout the year, it is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience and selection. The only real blemish on an otherwise outstanding year for e-commerce was a holiday season that fell shy of initial expectations, apparently due to consumers’ fiscal cliff concerns. To the extent that this pullback was just a temporary shock and not a sign of underlying economic weakness, we are optimistic that 2013 will build on the momentum of the past year."

The top-performing online product categories were during the past year were digital content and subscriptions, consumer electronics, toys and hobbies, apparel and accessories and books and magazines, according to comScore. Each grew by at least 15%.

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Predictix names head of Europe, Middle East and Africa sales

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA— Retail merchandising solutions provider, Predictix, has named Tom Fischer managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Fischer will be responsible for managing Predictix’ EMEA sales, client implementation and support activities in a growing international business.

Fischer brings more than 25 years experience in business application software to Predictix’ European business, with experience ranging from start-ups to major corporations. With a strong background in retail technology, Fischer most recently served as CEO of Prologic plc, a provider of ERP solutions for fashion retailers, where he completed a restructuring and sale of the company. Prior to Prologic, Fischer was Divisional Manager of SAP’s U.K. Retail business, notably growing software license revenues during the recession. Fischer has previously served as VP EMEA at Pay By Touch, a biometric payment start-up and as VP Northern Europe at Retek, Inc., prior to and after its initial public offering.

“We are pleased to welcome Tom to the Predictix team,” said John Simon, CEO of Predictix. “We are confident Tom’s leadership experience and extensive success working with global companies in EMEA will enable us to deliver on our objectives of serving the needs of our existing customers and growing our global presence.”

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