E-Commerce Shows Signs of Waking from Summer Slumber

Total U.S. spending on online sales increased from $3.2 billion in June to $3.98 billion in July, according to the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. The number of households shopping online increased to 14.7 million in July from 13.1 million in June. Consumers spent an average of $270 per person in July, compared with $247 in June.

The Forrester Online Retail Index measures the growth and seasonality of online shopping based on data collected from online shoppers. It is based on 5,000 responses fielded from an online panel from July 5 to July 13, 2001.

The index had dropped to $3.2 billion in June, the lowest monthly total the Index has delivered since January 2001, when a post-holiday hangover dropped U.S. e-commerce to $3 billion, from $6.1 billion in December 2000. According to Forrester, the spending dips of the previous months were seasonal in nature. With the back-to-school season and the holidays approaching, it’s likely the numbers will jump considerably in the coming months.


July 2001 NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index
Category Total Spent
in July

(in thousands)
Total Spent
in June

(in thousands)
June
Index Results

(July/June)
Small-Ticket Items
Software $112,759 $101,288 1.11
Books $151,561 $136,567 1.11
Music $118,318 $107,484 1.10
Videos $109,814 $91,207 1.20
Office supplies $82,716 $119,704 0.69
Apparel $224,743 $217,611 1.03
Footwear $67,656 $51,317 1.32
Jewelry $88,198 $84,339 1.05
Flowers $38,777 $40,168 0.97
Linens/Home Decor $72,479 $62,376 1.16
Health and Beauty $121,444 $125,300 0.97
Small appliances $35,620 $30,314 1.18
Toys/Videogames $162,449 $87,187 1.86
Sporting Goods $92,005 $80,411 1.14
Tools and Hardware $28,884 $24,993 1.16
Garden Supplies $16,961 $20,309 0.84
Big-Ticket Items
Computer hardware $335,784 $232,261 1.45
Consumer Electronics $191,878 $176,769 1.09
Appliances $45,704 $5,278 8.70
Furniture $46,740 $28,609 1.63
Food/Beverages $88,680 $87,961 1.00
Airline Tickets $746,170 $566,261 1.32
Car Rental $188,620 $120,924 1.56
Hotel Reservations $445,186 $314,078 1.42
Other $365,567 $294,818 1.24
Total Spending $3,978,713 $3,207,531 1.24
Number of Buyers 14,721 13,059 1.13
Average Spent per Consumer $270.27 $246.62 1.10
Source: NRF/Forrester

About the index:
The NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index measures, on a monthly basis, the growth and seasonality of online shopping based on data collected from online shoppers. The Index is based on 5,000 responses to an online panel fielded by Greenfield Online during the first 10 business days of each month. The monthly panel is weighted to Forrester Research’s Benchmark Panel, which surveyed nearly 90,000 US and Canadian members of a consumer mail panel developed by NPD Group. Data was weighed to represent the North American population demographically.

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