RESTON, Va.-Retail e-commerce spending during the just-completed holiday season totaled $42.3 billion, up 14 percent over the prior year’s holiday season, according to digital business information provider comScore.
The company said several days brought particularly strong growth—including Free Shipping Day (Dec. 17), during which e-commerce sales jumped 76 percent; and Christmas Day, with a 36 percent increase. The season, which combined shopping during November and December, also brought weaker periods in growth, most notably in the early- to mid-December period, which comScore attributed to a “swoon” in consumer confidence. The company added that growth rates never fully recovered from that laggard period.
Although Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman, characterized the 2012 holidays as “once again a very strong season,” he added that the period didn’t perform up to the company’s expectations, which called for a growth of 16 percent in e-commerce spending. Fulgoni attributed this to consumers’ concerns over the fiscal cliff and what that might mean to household budgets in the new year. “With Congress deadlocked throughout December,” he said, “growth rates softened even further and never quite made up enough ground to reach our original expectation.”