APPAREL UP ON WEB AS INTERNET SALES SLOW
Byline: Valerie Seckler
NEW YORK — The tepid economy has finally thrown some cold water on cybershoppers, although not clothes horses.
Online consumer spending in June sank 20 percent, totaling $3.2 billion, versus spending of $4 billion in June 2000, marking the first year-over-year decline during 2001, according to an Internet sales report issued Wednesday by Forrester Research Inc., in conjunction with Greenfield Online.
Apparel, however, was one of seven categories, among 16 small-ticket sectors, that showed growth in online consumer spending for the year, with purchases totaling $218 million, up 42 percent from sales of $154 million in June 2000. That’s not a complete surprise, considering apparel has been tagged the fastest-growing e-commerce category this year by Web watchers such as Jupiter Media Metrix. Consumers spent an average of $70 online for apparel in June, compared with $62.54, on average, a year earlier.
The onset of warm weather, plus vacations, weddings and graduations, may also have dampened consumers’ broader urge to surf, let alone shop the ‘Net, as members of fewer households shopped online in June than in May — 13.1 million households against 14.8 million. They spent less money there as well. The 5,000 members of a consumer mail panel surveyed by Greenfield spent an average of $245 per person online in June, down from $265, on average, in May. The data was culled from the first 5,000 respondents in Greenfield’s panel of 90,000 people and weighted to demographically represent the U.S. population.
Apparel was one of a dozen categories that registered online spending declines in June versus May, but its slide was one of the smallest, with purchases totaling $218 million, off 1.8 percent from $222 million in May.
Overall, business-to-consumer volume on the Internet in June eased 18 percent from May, when it tallied $3.9 billion. It’s the second month-to-month decline in consumer spending online this year, after a decrease of 9 percent in May, from April sales of $4.3 billion.