ComScore: Quarterly E-Commerce Sales Hit $47.5 Billion

The E-Commerce spend in the U.S. for this year's second quarter jumped 19 percent, to $47.5 billion, compared with last year's identical quarter, according to a statement released this week from ComScore.

If you take travel out of that equation?in what ComScore considers the pure e-tail segment?the quarterly figure grew 23 percent to $27.2 billion.

Total U.S. online consumer spending reached $170.8 billion last year, with non-travel spending accounting for $102.1 billion and travel spending accounting for $68.8 billion. Based on the first-half growth rates, total U.S. online consumer spending is on track to reach $200 billion in 2007.

OnScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said the numbers might even grow higher. ?In the past, we?ve seen growth rates accelerate as the year progresses, culminating with the online holiday shopping season," he said, "so $200 billion may actually turn out to be a conservative estimate.?

The report broke some sales down by category, with the top-gaining category being "video games, consoles & accessories, which jumped 159 percent on the strength of Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 sales. Sport & fitness also saw substantial gains (up 58 percent), followed by consumer electronics (up 51 percent) and event tickets (up 44 percent)," the report said.

Another report released this week looked at site responsiveness and reliability of a dozen major electronics retailer Web sites during site evaluations conducted in May and June 2007.

That report?from Keynote Systems?put Amazon and BestBuy as the strongest in online customer experience while CircuitCity took the top slot for site reliability and Staples get kudos for site responsiveness. Keynote also reported that the "Dell Web site saw significant gains in customer experience and satisfaction in the past year, with strong gains in the areas of product interest and the overall perceptions of the visual appeal of its site."

The report gave a few details about why some of those sites fared well.

"Amazon.com was the top ranked site in terms of search satisfaction, and one of the top ranked sites in six of nine key categories including price satisfaction, product research and overall site navigation and organization. Best Buy showed the most significant gains in online customer experience over the past year and was the number one ranked site in terms of pure customer satisfaction," a Keynote statement said. "Best Buy also ranked in the top echelon in seven of the nine key categories contributing to a quality online customer experience, including the ease of the purchasing process and customer support. The site?s most significant gains came in search satisfaction."

As it did last year, Keynote used the report to warn retailers to get ready for the onslaught that is the holiday shopping season.

"A site?s ability to handle user traffic without degrading is a critical indicator of site capacity and readiness for the upcoming holiday season. Keynote found four of the sites were not able, even during this relatively calm period, to handle load without degrading significantly," Keynote said. "Two sites reported more than 20 hours of outages, where a large number of the users to the site would have been unable to complete a purchase."

Keynote also described extensive problems with home page and search results pages. Several sites reported Home Pages that downloaded in more than 2 minutes for the narrowband (dial-up) user, while Staples had the fastest Home Page for narrowband users, downloading in about 45 seconds. Staples also reported the fastest Search Results download time at 1.1 seconds for broadband and 12 seconds for dial-up," Keynote reported.

Keynote traditionally doesn't release the names of the sites that fared the worst, but the sites that were examined but not mentioned in the top slots were Buy.com, Costco, Office Depot, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart.

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