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12/17/2007
09:06 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Online Retailing: A Tale Of Two Perspectives

Don'tcha just love when the same data leads to two diametrically opposed headlines? Well, that's what we've got with the latest figures on the growth of online sales this Holiday season.

Don'tcha just love when the same data leads to two diametrically opposed headlines? Well, that's what we've got with the latest figures on the growth of online sales this Holiday season.Here's the data:

According to comScore, Americans have spent some $22 billion online as of Dec. 15, 2007, an increase of almost 19 percent from last year.

For Inc.com, that was the impetus for the headline: Online Sales Hit Record High and this quote:

"Consumers are clearly responding positively to the enticing promotions and discounts being offered by retailers this year," comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. "Spending is currently on track to meet our forecast of $29.5 billion for the season."

But over at InformationWeek, the story was quite different: Growth Slows For Online Holiday Spending. That's because last year, online spending grew some 26% during the six-week period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14. The negative view was supported with this quote:

Spending this holiday season could fail to reach ComScore's forecast of a 20% increase over last year. "It's going to be dependent on the beginning of this week," ComScore analyst Andrew Lipsman told InformationWeek.

So, is the news good or bad for online retail? I guess the answer is that depends on whether your glass is half empty or half full and how deep the tint on your rose-colored glasses. Personally, I've often been known to take the curmudgeonly position, but 20% growth and a new record still seems mighty impressive to me.

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