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


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

According to the latest quarterly ecommerce
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

Separately, online-only retailers




were the highest-rated CE dealers across all channels of distribution in Consumer Reports’ Annual Electronics Buying Survey, as was B&H Photo, a single-storefront retailer that conducts the lion’s share of its business online.

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 — including
tablets, smartphones, e-book readers,
3D and touchscreens — that
require personal demos and expert

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