Brisk holiday shopping expected, much of it mobile
Holiday e-commerce is expected to jump 14 percent to 17 percent this year compared to 2012, despite shoppers' financial worries and a shorter holiday shopping season.
Specific shopping days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are expected to show strong sales, according to Kate Dreyer, a spokesperson for ComScore Inc.
"Over the past several years, each holiday season has seen the continuation of many online shopping trends that are not necessarily new but nevertheless shape the dynamics of the season," Dreyer wrote in a blog post. "The holiday shopping period continues to kick off earlier and earlier—with an increasing number of retailers offering deals on and even before Thanksgiving Day—and Cyber Monday rises in prominence and promotional activity."
Online shopping should be strong enough this year to actually blur the lines between Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving when people tend to flock to retail stores, and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving when people tend to make a lot of online purchases from their office computers.
"Many U.S. consumers are going online for holiday deals on the biggest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers," according to a Nielsen report released last week.
The Nielsen study showed that 51 percent of those surveyed plan to shop online on Black Friday instead of dealing with packed parking lots and throngs of grumpy shoppers at the mall. And 46 percent said they will be doing online shopping on Cyber Monday.
According to comScore, though, people aren't just sitting in front of their laptops or desktops to do their buying. A third of the average leading retailers' monthly traffic now comes exclusively from mobile devices.
Shoppers also are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to "showroom," which means they check out an item, like a bicycle or a sweater, in the store and then actually purchase it online. ComScore reported that 76 percent of the people it surveyed say they showroom "sometimes."