Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Online shoppers are FIT

January 2, 2009

JAPAN/Online shoppers, or those who received their gifts, are ready to ring in the New Year with new workout equipment.

According to comScore, online sales in the sport & fitness category rose 18 percent from Dec. 1 through Christmas Eve, the largest rise for any category.  (OK, so maybe they didn’t buy wooden weights like the ones being used by this woman in Tokyo last fall.  Perhaps they were buying pricey treadmills or other equipment.)

Next came video games, consoles and accessories, whose sales were up 14 percent.  The only other rise, at a much weaker 4 percent, came in apparel & accessories, driven by big discounts and bad weather, which may have triggered shoppers to buy from home rather than heading out to malls.

Overall it was a dismal online selling season, with sales down 3 percent.  The weakest showing came in the music, movies & videos category, where sales fell a sharp 32 percent.  Office supplies were next, down 30 percent. Even toy sales fell, down 7 percent.

The comScore report compared sales from Dec. 1-Dec. 24, 2008 with sales from Nov. 26-Dec. 19, 2007.  The findings also showed that households with lower incomes bought less online.  Those earning less than $50,000 a year cut their online spending by 13 percent, while those earning more than $100,000 a year actually spent 7 percent more than in 2007.

(Reuters photo of a woman exercising with wooden dumbbells during an event to mark “Respect for the Aged Day” in Tokyo Sept. 15, 2008)

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