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Ecommerce sales go backwards

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday November 7, 2009 )

Retail ecommerce sales figures are gloomy, but the light at the end of the tunnel may not be an oncoming train.

comScore, Inc. recently released its Q3 2009 retail ecommerce sales estimates – U.S. online retail spending came to $29.6 billion, *down* 2 percent versus year ago.

Q3 2009 is the first time on record according to ComsCore that *consecutive* quarters have seen negative ecommerce spending growth compared with the same quarter for the previous year.

Here’s how the figures and previous results look:

Q1 2007: +17%
Q2 2007: +23%
Q3 2007: +23%
Q4 2007: +19%
Q1 2008: +11%
Q2 2008: +13%
Q3 2008: +6%
Q4 2008: -3%
Q1 2009: no change
Q2 2009: -1%
Q3 2009: -2%

The last 12 months have sure been a departure from the double digit growth figures we were used to seeing for years. However, ComScore also says the dismal results “may finally be in our rear view mirror”. The company anticipates marginally positive growth for the fourth quarter.

The company also points out the increasing importance of free shipping in order to get folks to part with their cash. The past several quarters have seen the percentage of ecommerce sales transactions including free shipping increase from 31 percent in Q1 2008 to 42 percent in Q3 2009.

As I’ve pointed out before, offering free shipping is great – but not if it’s chewing up all your profit.

I’m still glad I’m involved with clicks instead of bricks though – retailers in the “real” world are doing it even tougher.


Rainy day revenue


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