ComScore: Online spending increases 17% to $44.3 billion in Q1

Reston, Va. -- Online U.S. retail spending reached $44.3 billion in first quarter 2012, up 17% versus a year ago, according to comScore’s Q1 2012 Retail survey. It was the tenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

In other findings, 38% of tablet owners have made a purchase on their devices within the past month. Apparel was the most popular category for purchase among tablet shoppers.

“The first quarter of this year was especially strong for retail e-commerce as we returned to year-over-year growth rates in the high teens, numbers we haven’t seen since 2007,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “While the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating. This presents opportunities but also challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers if they can’t hold onto their offline market share in the digital world.”

Highlights from the quarter include:

  • The top-performing online product categories were: digital content & subscriptions, computer software, consumer electronics, jewelry & watches and event tickets. Each category grew at least 17% versus year ago.
  • 48.8% of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, the highest percentage for a quarter on record outside of the holiday season.