Consumers splurging on Internet
By Greg Wiles
Bloomberg News Service
RESTON, Va. Consumer spending at U.S. Internet sites surged 35 percent to $17.9 billion in the third quarter as shoppers used the Web to buy more computers, office supplies and clothing, ComScore Networks Inc. said.
Spending on non-travel products was $9.86 billion, 30 percent more than a year earlier, while Web travel purchases totaled $8.03 billion, a 40 percent increase, the Internet research firm said.
Spending in the fourth quarter may exceed its August forecast for a 28 percent jump in non-travel sales to $13.8 billion, ComScore said.
Shoppers are becoming more confident in ordering on the Web, said the research firm based in Reston, Va. Free shipping offers and easing concerns about online security have made people more willing to order online.
Amazon.com Inc., the largest Internet retailer, is offering free shipping on orders of $25 or more in the hope of getting more first-time customers. Barnes & Noble.com Inc. offers free shipping for purchases of two or more items, while Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic Web site ships for free when $100 worth is ordered.
Internet travel sales growth has declined from the 87 percent increase in the first quarter.
ComScore calculates online spending by surveying more than 1.5 million Web users; the numbers exclude auction and corporate purchases.