Online Shopping Picks Up in February

Total spending on online sales increased from $3 billion in January to $3.4 billion in February, according to the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. The number of households shopping online also increased to 13.5 million in February from 13.3 million in January. Consumers spent an average of $248 per person in February, compared with $229 in January.

Appliances experienced the largest increase, growing from $24 million in January to $44 million in February. Jewelry and flowers also rose collectively by nearly 40 percent — from $99 million in total in January to more than $166 million in February. Online furniture sales also increased significantly — from $26 million in January to $43 million in February. The categories that experienced a decrease in online sales include videos, office supplies, and toys and videogames. Videos sales fell to $52 million in February, and toys and videogames dropped 31 percent to reach $86 million in February.

“In light of the economic slowdown, we are pleased to see that the Internet continues to thrive as a consumer shopping channel,” said James McQuivey, research director at Forrester. “It’s also reassuring to see Valentine’s Day love fires stir a 40 percent jump in online jewelry sales in February. Over time, the Index will expose more valuable trends like this in online consumer spending, providing retail marketers with a stronger understanding of consumer behavior.”


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

(in thousands)
Total Spent
in January

(in thousands)
February
Index Results

(Feb/Jan)
Small-Ticket Items
Software $110,978 $137,821 0.81
Books $118,623 $142,550 0.83
Music $114,819 $96,466 1.19
Videos $51,880 $83,166 0.62
Office supplies $68,636 $86,502 0.79
Apparel $200,847 $178,643 1.12
Footwear $39,070 $41,080 0.95
Jewelry $104,476 $62,216 1.68
Flowers $61,713 $36,846 1.67
Linens/Home Decor $59,751 $43,607 1.37
Health and Beauty $120,512 $87,501 1.38
Small appliances $37,298 $39,703 0.94
Toys/Video Games $86,151 $125,554 0.69
Sporting Goods $52,533 $53,399 0.98
Tools and Hardware $41,920 $36,503 1.15
Garden Supplies $23,495 $24,741 0.95
Big-Ticket Items
Computer hardware $304,506 $362,449 0.84
Consumer Electronics $195,581 $178,889 1.09
Appliances $43,954 $23,975 1.83
Furniture $42,923 $26,101 1.64
Food/Beverages $78,131 $88,909 0.88
Airline Tickets $605,951 $501,450 1.21
Car Rental $168,555 $113,271 1.49
Hotel Reservations $305,823 $229,334 1.33
Other $320,186 $243,738 1.31
Total Spending $3,358,313 $3,044,414 1.03
Number of Buyers 13,548 13,301 1.02
Average Spent per Consumer $247.89 $228.88 1.08
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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