The holidays are shaping up to be a big revenue generator for online companies, according to new research from ComScore.
According to the company, U.S. consumers will spend $37.6 billion online in the last two months of the year, up 15 percent compared to the $32.6 billion they spent last year. To put that figure into perspective, online customers in the U.S. spent $124.3 billion between January and October of this year.
ComScore has based some of its findings on the cash consumers have already spent. According to the company, between November 1 and November 20, U.S. consumers parted with $9.67 billion online, a 14 percent gain over the $8.47 billion they spent during the same period last year. So far, November 16 has been the biggest online shopping day, accounting for $688 million in sales.
But if consumers follow historical patterns, much higher single-day spending is on the way. According to ComScore, the biggest shopping period is the last week before Christmas; two weeks before Christmas follows closely behind.
ComScore also examined what consumers are looking for from online sites this year. Surprisingly, free shipping has become such a requirement that 30 percent of respondents said they wouldn't buy a product if they weren't offered it. Another 46 percent of consumers ComScore surveyed said that they "actively seek out free shipping deals," but don't believe they're necessary to make a purchase.