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Coremetrics Reports Declining eCommerce Performance in January


Order Sessions Drop, Browsing Flat

SAN MATEO, Calif.– January was a month of casual browsing but limited buying across the online retail sector, according to Coremetrics, the leading provider of online marketing and business optimization solutions.

The number of online sessions in which consumers browsed through a
website—viewing at least one product page—stayed largely flat compared to December 2008. But the number of sessions in which consumers actually completed an order was down sharply by 21 percent, as fewer people made the leap from browsing to actual buying. In fact, order sessions were down in all categories except Intimate Apparel and Office Supplies Retailers, which reported increases of nearly 5.5 percent and nearly 8 percent respectively. Specialty retailers reported a 56 percent drop in order sessions, the largest decrease of any retail category tracked by Coremetrics.

“Our data suggest that consumers are very nervous about the economy and that an economic recovery fueled in large part by online consumer spending has not happened yet,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer for Coremetrics. “It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Some categories are actually doing a good job of attracting consumers. And when we look at the average number of items per online order, we see that those consumers who actually decided to buy online bought more items for a higher total dollar amount.”

Compared to December 2008, the average number of items that consumers purchased per order rose by 23 percent in the online retail category as a whole. The average dollar value of those orders also rose by 8 percent. However, comparing those same metrics to January 2008 shows that the average number of items per order and their average dollar value were actually down 4.5 percent and nearly
5 percent respectively.

Notable Retail Categories Compared to December 2008

* Home goods retailers were extremely successful at enticing fewer shoppers to buy more items for a higher total dollar value, as evidenced by: a 26 percent rise in the average number of items per order; nearly a 41 percent increase in the average dollar value of those orders; and a whopping drop of almost 49 percent in order sessions.
* Health and Beauty retailers continued to show signs of the “little luxuries” effect where consumers in a down economy indulge in inexpensive purchases. Online retailers in this sector reported a 5 percent jump in browser sessions and a near-22 percent increase in the average number of items per order. However, the average order value decreased by nearly 5 percent, underscoring that consumers in this category were aggressively looking for bargains, stocking up on more items, but spending less money overall.


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