Online retail spending in the US hit $44.3 billion for the first quarter this year, up 17 percent over a year ago.
According to comScore, this represents the tenth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth and the sixth of double-digit growth.
Looking back over the numbers, there have only been 3 quarters in the past 5 years with no growth or a contraction, and 13 quarters where growth has been over 10%.
The best performing categories in the first quarter were Consumer Electronics, Digital Content & Subscriptions, Computer Software, Jewelry & Watches and Event Tickets.
Free shipping pops up in comScore’s report, with the company stating an incredible 48.8 percent of e-commerce transactions included it.
Tablet owners have been getting busy with the plastic, with 38 percent of making an online purchase on their devices within the past month.
While the news may have some recalcitrant real-world retailers checking the Yellow Pages for web site developers (online version I hope), comScore warns retailers losing their offline market share to the digital world that ecommerce has reached “critical mass” in several product categories already.
Also published by the research company in the last few days was its Search Engine Rankings update for April. Google Sites continued to lead the “explicit” core search market in April with 66.5 percent market share, up just a smidgen. Microsoft followed with 15.4%, then Yahoo! sites with 13.5%.
comScore says 17.1 billion explicit core searches were performed during April, with Google Sites grabbing the lion’s share – 11.4 billion. It was interesting to note the total number of searches during April were down 7% compared with April last year.
The company didn’t offer any possible explanation for fewer searches. While the US market may have matured, I would have thought searches would be on the increase. *Perhaps* people getting better with their searches (so performing fewer) combined with search engines delivering better results (arguable) had an impact, but 7% is a big chunk for those to be the only reasons.