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CE Dominates Online Sales; E-tailers Rank High In Poll

Reston, Va. –
Consumer electronics and related categories were among the top performing
online product sectors during the third quarter.

According to the
latest quarterly e-commerce sales report from online market research firm ComScore,
only books and magazines surpassed electronics in dollar volume, followed by
computers, peripherals and PDAs; computer software; and CE.

The results
indicate “a higher willingness of consumers to spend on in-home entertainment,”
ComScore said.

Total U.S.
e-commerce sales rose 9 percent to $32.1 billion for the three months, ended
Sept. 30, representing the fourth consecutive quarter of positive
year-over-year growth following a year of flat or negative growth rates.

The top 25 online
retailers accounted for 70 percent of all dollars spent online, up 5.5 percentage
points from the year-ago period. Online-only retailers accounted for 58 percent
of all e-commerce dollar volume, compared with 42 percent among multichannel
retailers, unchanged from a year ago, while 41 percent of online retail
transactions included free shipping, down only marginally from last year.

“Retail e-commerce
growth in the third quarter remained solid at 9 percent, a fairly positive
indicator for the upcoming holiday season,” said ComScore chairman Gian
Fulgoni. He cautioned, however: “Until the economy begins adding jobs at a
meaningful rate, the lack of spending power among consumers will continue to be
a drag on purchasing, with many consumers indicating their intention to cut
back on gift buying this holiday season.”

Separately, online-only
retailers B&H Photo, Crutchfield, and were among the
highest-rated CE dealers across all channels of distribution in Consumer
Reports’ latest Annual Electronics Buying Survey. and received high marks
from readers for their websites’ ease of use, while Newegg and B&H were
cited for competitive prices. In contrast, Crutchfield was noted for its selection
and a strong combination of customer service and buying ease.

Nevertheless, the
magazine said independent dealers and other brick-and-mortar showrooms “may
have an advantage over e-tailers” within new and unfamiliar categories and
technologies — such as tablets, smartphones, e-book readers, 3D and
touchscreens — that  require personal demos and expert guidance.

retailers out-scored most national and regional chains and had especially high
marks for in-person service, the survey showed, although Apple, Ultimate
Electronics and hhgregg also received top marks for customer service.