Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Inside the Customer’s Head November 11, 2010

Wednesday comScore offered a web session reviewing e-commerce trends from Q3 2010 and covering trends emerging for the upcoming holiday shopping season.  The session promised to hit on “e-commerce highlights from the third quarter of 2010, and will include a preview of online holiday shopping trends and an early read on consumer sentiment heading into the busy shopping season.”

comScore, Inc. is a global leader in measuring the digital world. Learn more about them here.

I’m sharing my notes in hopes you can take away some nuggets to grow your business by responding to consumer trends. What’s any of it have with social media? It’s a look inside the head of the consumer. Gear your social media conversations toward the way consumers are thinking right now.

Within the context of the session e-commerce is defined as worldwide retail shopping done on US based sites, excluding travel, cars and auction purchases.


  • Q3 ecommerce was up 8% over 2009 (2009 was very soft); back to a positive growth pattern.
  • E-commerce is approaching 10% of overall spending.
  • During the height of the recession e-commerce spend went negative to the tune of 1-2%
  • Decline in overall spending during the recession dropped by nearly 10%; e-commerce lost less biz than brick and mortar spending.
  • Ecommerce spend rebound since the recession has surpassed pre-recession levels; brick & mortar spending has not rebounded as much.
  • Consumers #1 concern is unemployment; uniform across income levels and for both employed and unemployed. (see chart below)
  • Inflation is #2 concern
  • 58% of people believe the unemployment rate will begin to improve 12 or more months from now. Consumers get it, and they expect this to last a long time. Expect cautious spend until those 58% believe recovery is closer.
  • Upper income segment is more optimistic about unemployment ending. If this is your market you have a more promising outlook.
  • Consumers are compensating by changing spend in 3 ways:
    • Reducing gift spending (61%)
    • Choosing other brands than previously (57%)
    • Shopping different retailers to save money (31%).
  • Top 25 retailers are gaining market share over smaller competitors; they outspend them on marketing to gain share, and offering discounts to lure customers.
  • Retailers who only sell online are growing faster than those with both online and brick & mortar outposts.
  • Websites with visitor growth are either purely e-commerce, like Amazon; or those whose internet presence interacts with their brick & mortar locations. Like Apple where consumers search the web for classes held in brick & mortar locations. Or Best Buy where you can buy online and pick-up product in-store.
  • Hot trends – sales via Groupon and LivingSocial visit growth has been phenomenal.
    • Hard to tell if there is seasonality to either of them, not enough data yet.
    • See category trends in the chart below.
  • Mobile e-commerce is growing, but not quite there yet – marketers are still figuring out how to reach the mobile user w/ something to buy rather than just give them information on the go.

Now the hard part – What’s any of this mean for your business? How can you use it to grow your share?

As always, drop me a note if you’d like help sorting through ideas.

This recession's joblessness is much different than any other recession.

Consumer categories and expected growth.


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