Good news for traditional brick and mortar stores has become increasingly tough to come by as the Internet continues accounting for an increasing percentage of the United States consumer’s disposable income. comScore released its estimates for online sales for the second quarter of 2011 today that put e-commerce spending at about $37.5 billion.
That increase marks a 14 percent increase over 2010 and the seventh consecutive quarter in which online shopping has trended up and to the right. The third quarter of 2009, the last decline, showed a two percent decrease over the second quarter.
The increase in usage does not necessarily mean an increase in per capita spending. The report also notes that the number of Internet buyers was up 16 percent, indicating the old adage of a rising tide raising all boats.
“Almost $1 in every $10 of discretionary spending now occurring online,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni in the report. “With economic growth remaining soft, the unemployment rate stubbornly high and financial markets in turmoil, consumers are less optimistic today than they have been in preceding quarters, which raises concerns for the future. We believe the third quarter will be an important indicator of which direction this economy is really headed and what that will mean for consumer spending.”
Another way to take that is: just because online shopping is skyrocketing, doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is recovering.
Consumer electronics, computer hardware and software each grew at least 15 percent versus last year. In addition, the top 25 online retailers saw a market share decline, albeit quite small, from 67.7 to 66.4 percent, indicating that small to medium-sized online retailers have clawed back some turf from the big guys.