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E-Commerce Spending Up 15% in Q2

Online channel remains strong, but economy, unemployment rates dampen growth outlook.

E-commerce retail spending in the U.S. reached $43.2 billion in the second quarter, a 15-percent increase from the same quarter of 2011, according to comScore.

The growth for e-commerce was nearly four times the growth of consumer spending as a whole, which is “a sign of continued strength in the e-commerce channel,” says comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

But, while online retailers have plenty to cheer about in comScore’s latest findings—11 consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth, seven consecutive quarters of double-digit growth—Fulgoni cautions that continued instability in the U.S. economy could bring a reversal of fortunes in the months to come.

Any significant pullback in consumer spending could dampen the strong double-digit growth we’ve been experiencing

“Although e-commerce remains strong, we are taking a cautious view of the second half of the year in light of some renewed signs of economic uncertainty and a stubbornly high unemployment rate,” Fulgoni states.

“In fact, consumer perception of the economy has recently deteriorated, with 56 percent now viewing economic conditions as poor, up from a level of 49 percent three months ago,” he continues. “So, even as commerce increasingly shifts to the online channel, any significant future pullback in overall consumer spending could dampen the strong double-digit growth rates we’ve been experiencing for the year to date.”

comScore notes that 42 percent of e-commerce transactions during the second quarter included free shipping, down from a high of 52 percent in the run-up to the holidays.

The top-performing product categories were Digital Content & Subscriptions, Consumer Electronics, Flowers, Greetings & Gifts, Computer Hardware and Apparel & Accessories, each growing 16 percent or more, compared to a year ago.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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