Comscore Forecasts 3 Percent Growth for 2009 Holiday E-Commerce Spending

First Three Weeks of November Mark Return to Positive Growth Rates for E-Commerce After Periods of Slight Decline in 2009

RESTON, VA, November 24, 2009 – Comscore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 22 days of the November – December 2009 holiday season, as well as its official spending forecast for the season. For the holiday season-to-date, $8.21 billion has been spent online, marking a 2-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.

2009 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2008
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: Comscore, Inc.

Holiday Season to Date

Billions ($)



Percent Change

November 1 – 22




*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru November 23, 2008)

“The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to a positive start, which is a nice improvement over the slightly negative growth rates we’ve experienced through much of 2009,” said Comscore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. “Nonetheless, online spending this holiday season will likely be tempered by the stark reality of 10-percent unemployment and less disposable income in many consumers’ wallets.”

Comscore 2009 Holiday Online Retail Spending Forecast

The official Comscore 2009 holiday season forecast is that online retail spending for the November – December period will reach $28.8 billion, representing a 3 percent gain versus year ago. This modest growth rate represents an improvement compared to last season’s 3-percent decline, but remains well below the growth rates of 20 percent or higher seen in previous years.

Online Non-Travel (Retail) Holiday Consumer Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: Comscore, Inc.

Billions ($)



Pct Change

January – October Actual




Holiday Season Forecast (Nov-Dec)




* Actual **Forecast

“After weathering the challenge of negative growth rates throughout much of the year, we are finally forecasting a return to positive growth at a rate of 3 percent for the 2009 holiday season,” added Fulgoni. “However, we need to realize that this year’s expected growth rate reflects the rapid deceleration in online consumer spending that occurred during the last two months of 2008, making comparisons to the year ago time period more favorable for the current holiday season.”

Comscore 2009 Holiday Shopping Survey

Alongside its reporting of behaviorally monitored e-commerce spending, Comscore is also conducting weekly surveys of approximately 500 consumers to determine attitudes and sentiment in regard to the holiday shopping season. In the most recent survey, conducted on November 20-23, 2009, 34 percent of consumers said they had not even begun their holiday shopping yet. They also indicated that deals and promotions are becoming an increasingly important part of the holiday shopping experience. Specifically, 45 percent said that they are seeing more discounts, sales or promotions this year versus last year, compared to just 9 percent who said they are seeing fewer.

One of the more prominent promotions for online purchases is free shipping. When asked how important free shipping is for making an online purchase this holiday season, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of consumers indicated it was important. Only 3 percent indicated free shipping was unimportant.

U.S. Consumer Outlook on Holiday Shopping Deals and Promotions
November 20-23, 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: Comscore 2009 Holiday Shopping Survey

Percent of Respondents

Q: Compared to last year, how would you rate the number of discounts, sales, or promotions that are currently available?

More discounts, sales, or promotions

45 %

About the same

35 %

Fewer discounts, sales, or promotions

9 %

Not sure

11 %

Q: When making a purchase online this holiday season, which of the following statements best describes how important free shipping is to you?

Very important – I won’t make a purchase without it

30 %

Somewhat important – I actively seek out free shipping deals

43 %

Neither important nor unimportant – I’d like to find it, but it’s not necessary

15 %

Somewhat unimportant – Free shipping has very little effect

2 %

Very unimportant – I’ll make my purchase regardless of shipping offers

1 %

Don’t know/not sure

9 %

Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales

About Comscore
Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications