Holiday Season E-Commerce Spending Hits $109 Billion

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Year over year, e-commerce spending rose 18% in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $109.26 billion from $92.51 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015. While online spending from desktop computers accounted for about 80% of the total, spending from mobile devices grew by 45% year over year, compared with 13% year-over-year growth from desktop machines.

The data were reported Monday by comScore and exclude items purchased through auctions and in large corporate purchases. Totals include items purchased from home and work desktop machines, smartphones and tablets.

comScore noted the strong growth in mobile purchases:

Overall, mobile accounted for 21 percent of total digital commerce dollars in Q4 2016, which is mobile’s highest recorded share of online sales for a single quarter since comScore began measuring m[obile]-commerce in 2010. This mobile share of digital commerce dollars grew considerably from 17 percent a year ago and from only 4 percent in Q4 2010. Smartphones and tablets have become increasingly important to online buying with every succeeding year.

For the 2016 holiday season (November through December), online sales totaled $80.22 billion, up 17.7% compared with $68.31 billion in 2015. Desktop sales increased by 12% and mobile sales rose by 44% for the two-month period. Mobile spending accounted for 21% of holiday season spending.

In an article published in December at the Journal for Advertising Research, comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni and Vice-President Andrew Lipsman had this to say about mobile e-commerce:

In a relatively short period of time, mobile radically has transformed the shopping and buying process for consumers. In addition, as the most personal device consumers own, mobile is a rich source of marketing data that can help retailers get more sophisticated in reaching and converting customers. Many of these mobile trends demonstrate why mobile—more than any other platform—is destined to shape retail in 2017 and beyond.