Consumers spent an estimated $8.8 billion in November on Internet purchases excluding travel, a 19 percent increase over the same month last year and 62 percent higher than in 2002.
Based on weekly surveys of more than 1,000 respondents, adult consumers spent $1.5 billion on apparel and clothing and $1 billion on toys and video games hardware and software. Also, online sales of video/DVDs were estimated at $882 million, books at $621 million and music at $481 million.
“It is not surprising that current predictions for year-over-year growth in online spending are lower than previous years, particularly with the growth of Internet penetration remaining flat over the past year,” Karen Chiarelli, vice president of technology research at Harris Interactive, said in a statement.
Toys and video games hardware and software, video/DVDs and music posted the fastest growth in holiday e-commerce dollars for last month, according to the Holiday eSpending Report from Nielsen//NetRatings, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Harris Interactive.
In particular, the toys and video games category grew 43 percent over 2003, video/DVDs 39 percent and music 32 percent.
As of last month's end, 17 percent of consumers indicated they had completed their holiday shopping, according to the report. Forty-eight percent claimed they had started but not finished holiday shopping. Thirty-five percent said they had not begun shopping this holiday season.
According to the report, 36 percent of consumers claimed they bought online because of lower prices on the Internet, 34 percent for the wider selection and 33 percent to avoid crowds in bricks-and-mortar stores.
“The growth in 2004 holiday revenue suggests that consumers are shifting more dollars to the Internet this season,” Nielsen//NetRatings senior retail analyst Heather Dougherty said in a statement.