Retail Detail. WWD Reports Internet Spending Jumped 26% This Holiday Season. Second City Style Fashion Blog

January 3, 2007 • Shopping

The Web had a very happy holiday indeed.

2006 proved to be a banner season for Internet sales. All the buying and
selling contributed to a 26% increase in online spending over
2005 to $26.1 billion for the first 50 days of the season, according to
comScore, which tracks Internet sales.

"Online continues to
grow at some alarming rates," said Marshal Cohen, NPD Group’s chief
industry analyst. "The reason I say alarming is because it’s good and
it’s bad. Online sales are terrific to reach the consumer who doesn’t
want to go to the store, but online keeps consumers on the whole out of
stores and that’s a big problem. It’s what took Christmas out of this
year’s Christmas."


E-tailers, such as, saw traffic
to their sites build up until the ground shipping cutoff date, which
was Dec. 17, when it started to decrease. "There was a lull on
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and then it jumped back up," said
Jacob Hawkins, senior vice president of online marketing at "People start returning things. We see a spike in the
number of returns starting on Dec. 26 and it picks up into January,
then peaks in the first and second week of January. This year, the
preliminary data show that returns are running lower than last year.
The biggest driver is that we’ve really worked on cleaning up our
inventory" and giving better product information so consumers can make
informed decisions.

Bluefly_logo chief executive Melissa Payner
said traffic to the site and sales remained consistent between
Christmas and New Year’s Day. "People are still buying dresses and
shoes were strong," she said. "We’re also selling tons of tops,
T-shirts, denim and women’s sunglasses — everybody is buying

Payner said consumers are
responding to early spring. "Our swimwear business is great," she said.
"People want something fresh." Asked about returns, she said: "It’s too
early for returns. Our return policy is 90 days. It’s probably going to
be a month before we start seeing returns."


EBay sees activity
rise after the holiday, said Jim Griffith, dean of education.
"Consumers are either cashing in gift cards they received or sending
items they don’t want back to the marketplace. Historically, for the
last decade we’ve noticed a jump in activity in buying and listing
right after Christmas with momentum building into January, which is one
of our biggest months."

Griffith said consumers are more willing to sell unwanted gifts. An
eBay poll found that 57% of respondents said they receive gifts
they don’t like and 69% of respondents felt no guilt about
regifting. "It’s becoming more acceptable as it becomes more
accessible," he said. "There’s a noticeable jump in the popular
categories with the top regifted items being knickknacks, DVDs, CDs,
books and bath items. Clothing and accessories are historically areas
where there’s been a lot of returns and on eBay there’s a lot of
regifting." Jewelry and consumer electronics, however, are not regifted

goods are starting to appear on eBay. "As eBay matures, it more
resembles traditional retail," Griffith said. "Sellers seem to release
more inventory or list more items on their sites."

Source: WWD

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