Online sales for the 2011 holiday season are already up 14 percent year-over-year, according to comScore.
Today, comScore reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 20 days of November at $9.7 billion. Wednesday, November 16, saw the biggest splurge this year, with $688 million flowing through digital channels.
Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, opined in the press release that consumers are turning to online shopping because of the convenience and lower prices.
The digital measurement and analytics company forecasts that online retail spending for November and December will reach $37.6 billion, a 15 percent gain over last year. Holiday retail spending online in 2010 increased 12 percent over 2009.
ComScore also released results of a survey of 1,000 consumers. Asked about early holiday promotions, 33 percent said they were seeing more discounts, sales and promotions than last year.
Showing that free shipping has become more of a consumer demand than a special promotion, 47 percent of consumers surveyed said they'd abandon their shopping carts if they got to checkout to find that they had to pay for shipping; 76 percent said that free shipping was important.
Shopatron, an e-commerce platform provider, says its testing shows that free shipping can increase online sales by as much as 30 percent. Displaying free shipping messaging on every page resulted in increases in actual sales of between 10 and 30 percent for the brands it tested.
Last year, comScore found that the biggest increase in sales came on the free shipping day, Dec. 17, 2010, when sales climbed 61 percent.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.