September Shows Slight E-Commerce Decrease

Total U.S. spending on online sales decreased slightly from $4.0 billion in August to $3.97 billion in September, according to the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. The number of households shopping online increased to 15.2 million in September from 14.8 million in August. Consumers spent an average of $262 per person in September, compared with $273 in August.

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 Oct. 2 to Oct. 9, 2001.

“The fact that online retail remained stable during a month of such social and economic instability speaks volumes about how well e-commerce is positioned to stand up to a poor economy,” said Christoper Kelley, an analyst at Forrester.


September 2001 NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index
Category Total Spent
in Sept.

(in thousands)
Total Spent
in Aug.

(in thousands)
Sept.
Index Results

(Sept./Aug.)
Small-Ticket Items
Software $136,031 $121,727 1.12
Books $183,288 $202,494 0.91
Music $136,408 $124,185 1.10
Videos $100,636 $92,582 1.09
Office supplies $109,059 $108,375 1.01
Apparel $288,420 $262,642 1.10
Footwear $86,589 $71,880 1.20
Jewelry $97,671 $76,999 1.27
Flowers $52,753 $37,922 1.39
Linens/Home Decor $97,013 $82,344 1.18
Health and Beauty $127,344 $96,715 1.32
Small appliances $48,981 $47,559 1.03
Toys/Videogames $117,437 $111,574 1.05
Sporting Goods $73,105 $75,211 0.97
Tools and Hardware $55,815 $44,648 1.25
Garden Supplies $28,188 $22,767 1.24
Big-Ticket Items
Computer hardware $400,217 $353,960 1.13
Consumer Electronics $173,105 $143,220 1.21
Appliances $31,832 $22,439 1.42
Furniture $61,341 $25,821 2.38
Food/Beverages $93,710 $100,578 0.93
Airline Tickets $575,261 $742,574 0.77
Car Rental $137,534 $178,824 0.77
Hotel Reservations $342,403 $458,372 0.75
Other $416,489 $437,984 0.95
Total Spending $3,970,632 $4,043,369 0.98
Number of Buyers 15,175 14,828 1.02
Average Spent per Consumer $261.66 $272.69 0.96
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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