Winston-Salem, N.C. - CE, including computers and gaming, was one of the top-performing online categories in the first quarter of 2011.
According to just-released estimates by Internet market research firm comScore, online sales of CE, computers and peripherals, and gaming hardware and software each grew at least 13 percent over the prior-year period, with only books and magazines matching their sales pace.
Total e-commerce sales rose 12 percent, or roughly twice the pace of brick-and-mortar sales, to $38 billion for the quarter, comScore said. The growth was driven by a 7 percent increase in the number of buyers and a 9 percent increase in transactions per buyer, which offset a slight decline in average transaction amount.
The results represent the sixth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth for e-tailers and the second consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates, the company said.
comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni attributed the sales spike to "rapidly rising gas prices and stubbornly high unemployment," which is sending consumers to the Web in search of lower prices.
"It's clear that e-commerce has become a mainstay in consumer behavior, driven by the attraction of both lower prices and convenience," Fulgoni said.
During the quarter, the top 25 e-tailers accounted for 67.7 percent of Internet sales, down from a peak of 70 percent in 2010 as small and mid-sized merchants regain lost market share, comScore said.
Fulgoni and comScore industry analysis senior director Andrew Lipsman will review the first-quarter results in a live webinar on Tuesday, May 17 from 1-2 p.m. EDT. Click here to register.