Fiscal Cliff Side Effect: Online Sales Miss Estimate

Although the fiscal cliff debacle has reached a temporary solution, the side effects on consumers are still being seen. A new report shows that online holiday spending reached record levels last year, but was hindered by the bickering in Washington.

According to comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, retail e-commerce spending in the final two months of 2012 totaled $42.3 billion, representing a 14 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. The holiday season had some notable highlights in November with impressive gains on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but a slowdown was seen before and after the two shopping day extravaganza.

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As the chart below shows, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday posted gains of 32 percent and 28 percent year-over-year, respectively. E-commerce activity increased a whopping 76 percent on Free Shipping Day, but not enough to make up for the slowdown. Overall, total e-commerce spending fell about a billion dollars short of comScore’s estimate.

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Gian Fulgoni, ComScore Chairman, explains the disappointment…