• Andrea Lillo

Online, linen sales slip in December

CAMBRIDGE, MA -Online holiday shopping in December dipped almost 5 percent from November, according to the latest Online Retail Index from the National Retail Federation and Forrester Research, in conjunction with Greenfield Online.

Online sales in November totaled $6.4 billion but slipped to $6.1 billion for December. Nearly 20 million households shopped online in December, spending an average of $308 per person.

Though purchases in categories such as jewelry, appliances, consumer electronics and garden supplies grew from November to December, others dropped. Linens/home decor, for example, fell 3 percent, from $129 million in November to $125 million.

"Despite economic uncertainty that continued through December, consumers are still enticed by the power of online shopping," said James McQuivey, research director at Forrester. "In the near term, this Index will demonstrate that consumers will sustain online retail through uncertain economic times-online shopping is here to stay."

"December's figures underscore that consumers clearly embraced the online channel in augmenting their shopping this past holiday season," said Scott Silverman, NRF's vp, Internet retailing. He noted that the dip in December sales is most likely attributable to consumers making online purchases earlier, rather than later, for the holiday season. "Moving forward, we expect to see the Internet evince its own distinct purchasing patterns."

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