Online Consumer Spending Drops in February 2009

Consumer spending in February 2009 dropped significantly from January, according to a report by Coremetrics. Those who shopped online during February purchased 13% fewer items. Website sessions that resulted in purchases declined by 3%.

Page views per session dropped 1%, product views per session dropped 2.5% and average time on site went down 4.5%.

The report also found:

  • Gifts retailers and Jewelers -- both traditional winners on Valentine's Day -- reported 23% and 15% increases in order sessions respectively. However, the average dollar value of those orders did not match these increases, with a modest increase of 4% for gifts retailers and a decrease of 14.3% for jewelers. These numbers illustrate that even on those occasions when consumers want to spend, they are spending in a more restrained fashion than in the past.
  • Department stores were hit hard by a 13% drop in shopping cart sessions and a near 10% drop in order sessions. However, department stores did an excellent job of appealing to a smaller group of consumers, reporting increases of 2% and 13.4% in the average number of items per order and their average dollar value.
  • Apparel, Health and Beauty, Home Goods, Outdoor Goods and Specialty retailers all reported decreases in order sessions of 12.6%, 9.6%, 5.2%, 10.8% and 7.2% respectively.

"The online economy is reflecting what is happening in the broader markets," said John Squire, chief strategy officer for Coremetrics. "Consumers are being increasingly selective about when and where they make their online purchases, which means that we can't expect the online sector to power us out of this recession over night. That's why retailers are becoming more analytical about launching marketing programs that aggressively target consumers with personalized, relevant promotions designed to get them to open their wallets."

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