Online holiday spending drops off after Cyber Monday blitz

Shoppers may be suffering from an online hangover after spending record amounts

After Cyber Monday shoppers broke online spending records, holiday e-commerce dropped off sharply later in the week.

Shoppers might have been suffering from online shopping burnout toward the end of last week, according to analysts at comScore, an online research firm. Holiday shoppers took to the Internet in droves earlier in the week, with four individual days topping $800 million in spending.

"Cyber Monday kicked off the most recent work week with an all-time record of more than $1 billion in e-commerce spending, representing a strong 16% growth rate versus a year ago," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. "While we saw three more days during the week with at least $800 million in spending, growth rates slowed to single-digit levels following several weeks at about 13%. We believe this softening is attributable to retailers' heavy discounting and promotional activity during the earlier part of the holiday season, which pulled some consumer demand forward, resulting in a mild hangover effect in the days immediately following Cyber Monday."

Fulgoni noted that this shopping hangover may drift into this week before retailers respond with more discounts and free shipping offers to draw shoppers back online in the last days before Christmas.

Despite the slowdown late last week, comScore reported that online holiday spending is still on a double-digit uptick from last year.

Since the beginning of November, online shoppers have spent $16.8 billion. That's a 12% increase compared with the same period in 2009.

On Cyber Monday alone, online shoppers spent $1.028 billion. That's the highest one-day online spending total ever, according to comScore.

And on Black Friday , the day after Thanksgiving, online shoppers spent $648 million, making it the biggest online spending day of the year, until Cyber Monday rolled around three days later.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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