Retailers Ring Up Record E-commerce Sales

by Kim Souza ( 1 views 

With two-thirds of the holiday shopping season in the books, e-commerce sales have risen 13% from the same period in 2011, according to data firm comScore.

Consumers doled out more than $26.6 billion in online sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 7. And while there’s still two weeks of shopping days to go, retail experts say e-commerce deals are likely to peak this week on the heels of a busy Green Monday (Dec. 10).

Green Monday is a term coined in 2007 because of the money generated from record online sales on the second Monday in December.

“This week led by Green Monday (Dec. 10) is likely to be the heaviest online spending week in history with a realistic chance of delivering five billion-dollar days,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Memphis-based FedEx said Green Monday was its busiest day of the season and entire year with 19 million packages routed through its logistics chain. A year ago, the company moved 17.2 million packages on Green Monday.

While Green Monday has seen online spending levels double over the past six years to more than $1.1 billion in 2011, the day has become slightly less important to the season overall, according to Fulgoni.

Once the heaviest day of the online shopping season, Green Monday has not assumed the top position since 2007, he said.

Fulgoni notes that two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, compared to the last, caused a slight dip in online sales activity during the past week, but he expects double-digit gains to return.

Last week, three of seven days did register more than $1 billion in online sales.

Cyber Monday (Nov. 26) was one of seven billion-dollar sales days so far this season, with an estimated 129 million holiday shoppers taking part. BIGinsight reports those shoppers spent an average $194.46 online, which was 13% more than e-commerce shoppers rang up during the Thanksgiving weekend.

IBM tracks 500 big U.S. online retail sites. On Cyber Monday, it tracked a 30.3% jump in online sales versus the same day in 2011.

The uncertain economy and aggressive in-store promotions – including Thanksgiving hours – are not slowing online sales, according to Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce, an e-commerce services unit of IBM.

Henderson recently told Investors Business Daily online sales growth has outpaced offline since web commerce started to take hold in the early 1990s. He said online sales were not cannibalized by brick-and-mortar retailers opening Thanksgiving Day.

“I have done most of my shopping online, Kohl’ is my favorite and Best Buy had great deals as well. All the packages have been delivered with no problems,” said Karen Hart, of Carrollton, Texas.

Hart cites the convenience, crowd avoidance and being able to shop in her pajamas as the main reasons she does her holiday buying online.

Local shoppers also say they like to buy online because of the great deals they are getting, particularly this time of year.

Jay Skiles of Fayetteville said he found the Nike shoes he wanted online at roughly 60% savings from the in-store prices he has checked for almost a year. Elizabeth Voris of Fort Smith said she did all the shopping for her two small children online. One of her favorite sites is, which Voris says has great prices.

“I have also purchased gifts for my mom and mother-in-law online too,” Voris added.

Whether shopping online or in-store or some combination of the two, the days are ticking down and retailers Amazon and Wal-Mart have said sales are strong overall.

The National Retail Federation expects overall retail sales this holiday – in-store and online – to total $586.1 billion. This projection is up 4.1% from spending last year.

According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent last year.