By  on October 27, 2011

Brick-and-mortar stores last week lost some shoppers to e-commerce but compensated for the decline with improved conversion rates.

According to figures from The NPD Group’s Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report, the online share of buying visits increased to 12 percent for the week ended Oct. 24, up from 11.7 percent the prior week and slightly below the 12.1 percent registered during the week ended Oct. 10. The online share was strongest in the month’s first week ended Oct. 3, when it was 12.8 percent.

The conversion rate — the share of “engaged” shoppers visiting a store who made a purchase — hit 71.1 percent last week, up from 70.9 percent the week before and 71 percent for the week ended Oct. 10. In the first report of the month, it stood at 71.2 percent. Consumers are considered to be “engaged” when they are actively looking to make purchases.

However, the average amount spent per buyer fell about 10 percent in comparison to the previous 11 weeks, NPD said.

The Oct. 10 period included the weekend prior to Columbus Day and its Oct. 17 counterpart began with the holiday itself.

“We had seen the effect of the holiday promotions driving consumers into the brick-and-mortar outlets,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, “and now, without the promotional activity, we can see consumers are dialing back.”

He pointed out that athletic footwear, a category recently driven by innovation, has continued to register increases. “Without new, exciting and innovative product, I don’t see consumers being motivated to purchase and help to drive real retail growth,” he said.

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