The Goldman, Sachs & Co., Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive fifth annual Holiday eSpending Report has been released, and has revealed that U.S. online holiday shopping totaled $30.1 billion, excluding travel, during the 2005 holiday season (October 29 - December 23), a 30 percent increase from the 2004 holiday season.
However, toy and video game hardware/software spending combined accounted for just $2.296 billion of that total, down 9% from 2004, reflecting a disappointing transitional holiday season for the game business, as the Xbox 360 failed to find sufficient stocks to meet demand, and a seemingly similar lack of buoyancy for the toy industry.
This meant that the toy/game total was even outpaced by books, which are increasingly purchased online, and were up 66% to $2.953 billion. The same was true for consumer electronics spending, up 109% to $4.793 billion - both of these categories were level with or below toy/game spending in 2004. Finally, computer hardware/peripherals, including PC sales, were up an impressive 126% in 2005 to $4.821 billion, with apparel/clothing up 42% to $5.349 billion.
"Apparel remains one of the more dominant product categories during the holiday season, mirroring offline holiday retail behavior," said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "Computer hardware and consumer electronics had a stellar season with the price reductions for laptops, plasma TVs, color printers as well as high demand for iPods, digital cameras, and media accessories. The 2005 holiday season was a gadget year for consumers of all ages, and consumers continued to show their love for free shipping."
Dougherty continued, "Toys and video games were not as fortunate this year, with a lack of the must-have toy to drive sales. Moreover, the line between product categories are blurring with the introduction of more hybrid devices that can be considered consumer electronics or computer hardware."