Grads and dads send June online spending soaring

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Sales of gadgets increased significantly in June, while sales of flowers online dropped from May’s high, according to the National Retail Federation the latest NRF/Forrester online retail index.

“Father’s Day and college graduation sent online sales of small appliances, toys/video games, sporting goods, and tools and hardware through the roof,” said David M. Cooperstein, research director at Forrester. “Overall spending in these four categories alone increased by 51% in June.”

Other small-ticket categories, including software, books, and music, increased from $374.8 million in May to $499.8 million in June. Jewelry grew from $54 million to $76.8 million. Total spending in small-ticket item categories increased from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.

Big-ticket items also experienced a boost, with computer hardware and consumer electronics leading the pack. Combined, these categories expanded from $455.2 million in May to $643.6 million in June.

Online hotel reservations also boomed from $277.8 million to $420.1 million. Overall, online spending for big-ticket items grew from $2.1 billion in May to $2.5 billion in June.

Total spending increased from $3.4 billion in May to more than $4 billion in June, with the average spent per consumer increasing from $249 to $288.

“The strong surge in online spending indicated in the June Index – particularly in some of internet retail’s most mature categories such as books and music – flies in the face of recent reports questioning the viability of the internet as a shopping channel,” said Scott Silverman, NRF vice president for internet retailing. “It’s important that retailers take these trends into consideration as they develop their internet strategies for the back-to-school and holiday seasons.”

The NRF/Forrester online retail index measures the monthly growth and seasonality of online shopping based on data collected from online shoppers. The index is based on 5,000 responses during the first 10 business days of the month from an online panel developed by Greenfield Online. The survey results for June 2000 were fielded from June 1 through June 5, 2000.

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, a market research firm. Data was weighted to demographically represent the North American population. The survey was fielded from late November 1999 to February 2000.

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