comScore is reporting that consumers spent nearly $22Bn online during the first 40 days of the 2010 holiday shopping period. This represents a 12% increase from the same period in 2009.
Since Ingrid and I have already shifted our holiday shopping online this trend is hardly surprising to me. Rather than fighting the crowds in the shopping mall, we logged onto Amazon from the comfort of our couch and got nearly everything on our gift list in a matter of minutes. Rather than lugging a suitcase full of toys, clothing, and other assorted gifts to our annual family gathering in New York, we used Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping to make sure that it all will be there waiting for us when we arrive. Even when we needed a gift from a nearby specialty retailer, Heath Ceramics‘s slick and easy-to-use site saved us at least an hour and a half trip to their Sausalito store.
Of course there will still be some occasions when you’ll find that you have to go to the retailer for one reason or another. Over the weekend we went into a Best Buy to get some firsthand advice from one of their knowledgable blue shirts, but after he had provided all the advice we needed I took out my handy Amazon barcode scanner to compare the Best Buy price with Amazon’s to see if I could save money by buying online. Many of the times you do this you’ll find big savings just a single click away on their mobile app. Last week in a similar situation at Bloomingdales we saved over $100 on a piece of luggage.
E-commerce was all of the rage in the late 90’s. Then the bubble burst and the hype largely disappeared. But all along more and more consumers have increased their online spending. Digital natives finally have significant money in their pocketbooks, and not surprisingly, they start all of their shopping online. Given shifting demographics, this trend will accelerate.
If you’re starting a company in the e-commerce space there is a massive opportunity in front of you. Just putting up a store online and selling products isn’t the best way to attract customers, but if you make the shopping experience more fun and social, if you make it more personalized, if you develop new business models that better meet your customer’s needs, then you’ve got the opportunity to build an amazing company.