What consumers spent online in several categories, including sports and fitness, outperformed what they spent offline during the 2008 holiday season.
Two categories of online sales – sports and fitness, and video games and consoles – showed double-digit increases this past holiday season over spending a year ago compared to all other categories. Only apparel and accessories also showed a slight increase (4 percent), while luxury goods and other non-necessities such as jewelry, music and event tickets showed steep declines in sales, according to a study by comScore, which for the report compared its online sales data with overall consumer spending data from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse for November and December.
Not only did sports and fitness goods sales online outperform offline and all other categories, it was the fastest growing of all other categories – increasing its online purchases by 18 percent compared to 2007.
“The category continues to benefit from consumers' focus on health and fitness and higher comfort levels with purchasing more expensive fitness equipment — such as treadmills and elliptical machines — online,” comScore wrote in a statement.
The second fastest-growing category was video games, consoles and accessories, which increased over 2007 by 14 percent. Those sales included the likes of the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. comScore reported that apparel only managed single-digit growth due to aggressive discounting.
"For an online holiday shopping season that recorded a disappointing three-percent decline in sales, a positive note is that e-commerce trends outperformed overall consumer spending in several product categories, which is to say that e-commerce continued to capture an increasing share of consumers' wallet," Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, said in a statement.
Estimates for the decline in the season’s sales over a year ago range from about 2.7 percent to 3 percent.
comScore’s analysis also looked at spending patterns based on household income and found that online growth only occurred in households with at least $100,000 in annual income. Those with $50,000 to $99,999 in income showed a decline of 8 percent while those with less than $50,000 in household income showed a drop of 13 percent.
To see SpendingPulse’s Holiday 2008 wrap-up report, click here.