US online retail spending has returned to positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, following four consecutive quarters of year over year declines, mainly driven by an increase in online buyers, according to data released by comScore.
Total eCommerce spending for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, was $39bn, an increase of 3%, compared to $38.1bn for the same period last year. The eCommerce spending was $29.55bn in the third quarter of 2009.
comScore said that the e-commerce spending was mainly driven by an increase in online buyers, while average spending per buyer saw modest declines. December 15th ranked as the heaviest online spending day in the US for the quarter with $913m.
According to the study, Amazon and Walmart gained the market share of eCommerce sales versus small and medium-sized retailers. Free shipping factored into more than 40% of e-commerce transactions during the holiday season.
For the full year 2009, total retail eCommerce spending was $129.8bn, decreased marginally compared to the previous year’s total retail eCommerce spending of $130.1bn.
Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, said: “The fourth quarter, with 3% year-over-year growth, helped end what has been a disappointing year for online consumer spending on a more positive note.
“As we head into 2010, there is reason for guarded optimism for online retail spending to continue to gain share of consumers’ wallets. At the same time, I expect absolute growth to be stymied by continued high unemployment and the deleveraging that is occurring in the economy as consumers exercise their new-found propensity to save.”