Online Sales Down in October

Total U.S. spending on online sales decreased slightly from $4.0 billion in September to $3.6 billion in October, according to the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. The number of households shopping online decreased to 13.7 million in October from 15.2 million in September. Consumers spent an average of $265 per person in October, compared with $262 in September.

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 Nov. 1 to Nov. 9, 2001.

“Great deals, like zero percent financing, in the brick-and-mortar world lured consumers back to the malls after a slow September, but they decreased their use of the Web to make purchases,” said Christopher Kelley, Forrester analyst. “And, while they were out buying a car that they won’t have to pay for until next year, it was also convenient to pick up a sweater and CD that they might otherwise have bought online.”


October 2001 NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index
Category Total Spent
in Oct.

(in thousands)
Total Spent
in Sept.

(in thousands)
Oct.
Index Results

(Oct./Sept.)
Small-Ticket Items
Software $121,920 $136,031 0.90
Books $149,818 $183,288 0.82
Music $126,589 $136,408 0.93
Videos $84,895 $100,636 0.84
Office supplies $102,215 $109,059 0.94
Apparel $284,003 $288,420 0.98
Footwear $72,367 $86,589 0.84
Jewelry $84,436 $97,671 0.86
Flowers $60,111 $52,753 1.14
Linens/Home Decor $89,885 $97,013 0.93
Health and Beauty $95,914 $127,344 0.75
Small appliances $54,255 $48,981 1.11
Toys/Videogames $124,115 $117,437 1.06
Sporting Goods $69,430 $73,105 0.95
Tools and Hardware $56,430 $55,815 1.01
Garden Supplies $56,207 $28,188 0.74
Big-Ticket Items
Computer hardware $386,007 $400,217 0.96
Consumer Electronics $225,923 $173,105 1.31
Appliances $58,393 $31,832 1.83
Furniture $71,563 $61,341 1.17
Food/Beverages $85,908 $93,710 0.92
Airline Tickets $485,840 $575,261 0.84
Car Rental $123,462 $137,534 0.90
Hotel Reservations $282,873 $342,403 0.82
Other $317,873 $416,489 0.76
Total Spending $3,634,374 $3,970,632 0.92
Number of Buyers 13,722 15,175 0.94
Average Spent per Consumer $264.86 $261.66 1.01
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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