Online Holiday Sales Will Jingle to the Tune of More Than $19 Billion This Year, According to Comscore Forecast

Online Consumer Spending Expected to Rise 24 Percent Compared to Last Year’s Season

RESTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2005 – Comscore Networks today released its forecast of online consumer spending for the 2005 holiday season. Comscore estimates that consumer spending on non-travel goods at U.S. Internet sites will exceed $19 billion during the November through December holiday season, representing approximately 24 percent growth over the 2004 season.

Non-Travel Online Consumer Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Source: Comscore Networks

2004 (in billions)

2005 (in billions)

Percentage Change

January to October




Holiday Season (November/December)








Full Year




*Comscore Networks forecast

“Expectations across all channels for this holiday season have been dampened slightly by high gas prices and wavering consumer confidence,” said Gian Fulgoni, Chairman and Co-Founder of Comscore Networks. “However, e-commerce will remain strong as consumers continue to shift more of their holiday spending to the online channel because of the Web’s convenience and the savings available through its price comparison capabilities – not to mention the ability for consumers to save on fuel costs by cutting back on the need to drive to retail stores.”

Success of Traditional Retail Categories Online Indicates Consumer Comfort
“The strong growth of e-commerce in traditionally offline categories such as Apparel & Accessories, Home & Garden, and Jewelry & Watches is a clear indicator that channel switching continues,” added Mr. Fulgoni. “Consumer-focused initiatives such as in-store pick-up, free shipping and hassle-free returns have helped merchants convince consumers to consider shopping in a wider array of categories online.”

Fastest Growing Product Categories
Excludes Auctions, Large Corporate Purchases and Office Products
Source: Comscore Networks
Year-to-Date through October

2004 (in million)

2005 (in millions)

Percentage Change

Toys & Hobbies




Computer Software (ex. PC Games)




Apparel & Accessories




Home & Garden




Jewelry & Watches




Comparison Shopping Sites Grow As Consumers Search for Lower Prices
More than ever, consumers turn to both comparison shopping sites and traditional search engines to help them find lower prices or locate difficult-to-find products. Comparison shopping sites represent one of the fastest growing categories online, attracting more than 54.7 million visitors in October, an impressive 52-percent increase compared to a year ago. Previous Comscore research has shown that online shoppers are highly likely to turn to comparison shopping engines as part of their research process before buying. For example, Comscore found that 90 percent of those who purchased consumer electronics online during the first quarter of 2005 also visited a comparison shopping site during that same period.

Top Ten Comparison Shopping Sites
By Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore MMX
October 2005

Unique Visitors (000) Sites

19,093 Sites


Yahoo! Shopping

13,590 Sites

9,358 Sites

5,950 Sites









“As consumers have gained online shopping experience in recent years, they have become increasingly open to buying from a large range of merchants, including familiar offline names, online auctions, and both large and small online-only stores,” said Mr. Fulgoni. “Comparison shopping and Web search engines not only provide consumers with an efficient means for navigating this complex shopping environment, but also cause online retailers to engage in more competitive pricing.”

Familiar Multi-Channel Retailers Will Post Strong Results Again this Year
During last year’s holiday season, Comscore found that familiar names in offline retail, such as Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, grew significantly more than online-only merchants. Driven by strong brands, significant online/offline promotions and in-store pick-up and returns, multi-channel retailers will likely outpace many of their online-only competitors again this year. In October 2005, three of the top five most visited retail Web sites were multi-channel retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target Corporation, and Apple Computer, Inc.

Top Ten Retail Sites
By Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore MMX
October 2005

Unique Visitors (000)



Amazon Sites




Target Corporation


Apple Computer, Inc.

20,139 Sites



AmericanGreetings Property


Yahoo! Stores




“Pure online brands will continue to do well this holiday season,” said Mr. Fulgoni. “But multi-channel retailers will once again post the highest overall growth in online sales as newer online shoppers turn to the brands they trust, and consumers recognize the benefits of in-store service, including post-holiday returns.”

As in past years, Comscore will track online shopping behavior and regularly release data throughout the holiday season. To request these and other consumer research updates, please visit

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. Comscore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, Comscore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. Comscore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. For more information, please visit

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications