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Online Sales Grow 17% in First Quarter

Buyers flock to free shipping deals, comScore says.

Shoppers were busy browsing online stores and marketplaces, and clicking the buy button earlier this year, according to researcher comScore.

It reports that online sales grew 17 percent, year over year, during this year’s first quarter, taking sales to $44.3 billion. The increase made the quarter the 10th consecutive first quarter to see a year-over-year sales increase. Sales reached $38 billion during last year’s first quarter and nearly $34 billion during 2010’s first quarter.

“While the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman, adding that “E-commerce has reached critical mass in several products categories.”

Nearly 49 percent of online sales made during the first quarter this year included free shipping, comScore reports, noting that this is a high percentage. Only the final quarters of 2011 and 2010 had a higher percentage of transactions that included free shipping.

Tablet owners did their part to help boost sales during the first quarter. comScore’s research finds that 38 percent of tablet users made a purchase on their tablet devices in the past month. The most popular items for these buyers were clothes.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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