American on-line retailers were the big winners in the holiday shopping season, with e-commerce sales up 15.5%, according to a MasterCard report released this week.
After last year’s recessionary drop in the retail sector, overall 2009 holiday season retail sales in the United States, including the on-line channel, have improved 3.6% compared to 2008. The holiday shopping season is the period from 1 November to 24 December. MasterCard’s estimates come from debit and credit card activity in the MasterCard network supplemented with surveys of other spending activity.
Nearly four out of five consumers who went on-line in November visited an on-line retail site, according to comScore, and a survey from the American Association of Advertising Agencies shows that 61% of affluent Americans visited an on-line retail site in the last month.
Affluent American consumers are those in households earning more than US$100,000 per year. On-line retail sites are the second most-visited web site category for them, after search engines and ranking ahead of social networks, news and entertainment web sites.
This strong growth in e-commerce in the midst of difficult economic conditions reinforces the importance of on-line sales for new products hoping to succeed in America.