Our holiday debriefing. What we spent, what we got, what our favorite gifts of the season were and what got returned the next day. Now that the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to take a look at the damage to our collective pocket books.
Holiday Shopping Online
Overall, we spent about 4 percent more than last year during the holiday season and about 12 percent more than last year was spent online. The double digit growth in online shopping set a new record with about $46.5 billion spent online between November 1 and December 31. Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of black Friday, held on the Monday after Thanksgiving, was the largest online shopping day in history. Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, said that customers bought nearly 37 million products on cyber Monday alone. To put that into perspective Amazon alone sold 426 items per second, or 25,560 items every minute. Needless to say, rather than face the harsh weather, congested traffic and crowded storefronts, many of us chose to do our holiday shopping from the comfort of home this season.
Where People Bought the Most (and the Least)
The Midwestern United States saw the most growth in shopping during the 2013 holiday season, with some Midwestern states averaging 18 percent revenue growth, and the state of Oklahoma leading the way with 20 percent growth. New Yorkers were at the back of the pack in holiday shopping, recording a 2 percent decline in revenue growth during the holidays. The virtual locales of online social networks were also among the destinations lagging in online shopping. Despite continued hype about the commercial potential of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, social networks only generated about 2 percent of online sales this year, which remains unchanged from 2012.
Gift Giving and Returning
The Clothing and Electronic departments led the way this holiday season with about 13% more sales than last year. The most gifted products were clothes, shoes, video game consoles, tablets and smartphones. Though, according to a report by MasterCard, the gift which accounted for the most money spent overall, was jewelery. While few people were unhappy to receive their video game console or tablets, and fewer still would refuse an expensive piece of jewelery, according to data published by market research firm MarketTools, 62 percent of people surveyed have returned a gift of clothing or shoes.