(Nasdaq: VRSN), the leading provider of intelligent infrastructure services
for the Internet and telecommunications networks, today released new
e-commerce data showing that the 2004 holiday shopping season (Thanksgiving
through Monday, December 27) yielded a total of $8.8 billion in online
shopping purchases, a 24 percent increase as compared to the same period last
year. VeriSign also reported that the average price of an online purchase
reached a season-high of $178 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004, one of the
final shipping days before Christmas. Additionally, the final five shopping
days during the week of December 20 accounted for $1.5 billion in online
“The 2004 online holiday shopping season has proved highly successful,
with virtually every indicator showing growth. From spikes in merchant
categories to new shopping phenomena like ‘Black Monday,’ we continue to
observe the impact the online marketplace has on traditional shopping-behavior
patterns,” said Trevor Healy, vice president of payment services, VeriSign.
“Through the online data we collected, we have seen clear changes in consumer
behavior such as accelerated weekday shopping activity, more confidence in
buying digital goods from e-commerce sites, an increase in gift-certificate
purchases as well as the direct impact of shipping lead times on sales.”
VeriSign’s latest statistics are based on the analysis of online sales
volume processed through VeriSign Payment Services, which comprises more than
35 percent of all North American e-commerce and represents in excess of
120,000 online retailers.
Full Category Comparisons
VeriSign tracks year-over-year merchant activity in key e-commerce
categories. Significant findings this year include the following figures from
Thanksgiving 2004 through the Monday following Christmas (Monday,
December 27, 2004), as compared to the equivalent time period in 2003
(Thanksgiving 2003 through Monday, December 29, 2003):
– Online transactions for the electronics category increased 17 percent
for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. This
category picked up steam from a four percent increase as of
December 12, 2004 and a 12 percent increases as of December 19, 2004.
The category also carried an average ticket price of $291, the highest
average price across all categories.
– Online transactions for the apparel category increased 45 percent for
the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003. Women’s apparel
represented the largest portion of this category, accounting for
40 percent of the total sales this season. Women’s apparel also showed
the highest increase in average ticket price, increasing 28 percent to
$140 this year as compared to the 2003 online holiday shopping season.
– Online transactions for the entertainment category (music and video
downloads) increased 54 percent for the entire holiday shopping season
as compared to 2003.
– Online transactions related to the photo-printing-and-sharing category
increased 120 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as
compared to 2003. This was the fastest growing of all categories
tracked during the 2004 holiday season.
– Online transactions for the general retail category increased
24 percent for the entire holiday shopping season as compared to 2003.
The Kitchen-and-Housewares subcategory held the highest share of this
category at 28 percent. Kitchen-and-Housewares also held one of the
season’s highest average ticket prices at $148 – second only to the
– Consistent with previously observed consumer online shopping behavior,
Monday again was the busiest shopping day of the week. Monday,
December 20, 2004, the peak online shopping day from the week,
accounted for 4.8 million transactions, representing more than
23 percent of the week’s activity.
– In the “brick-and-mortar” world, retailers expect that December 26, the
day after Christmas, will draw a large number of consumers to their
stores. This year, December 26 fell on a Sunday, a day of the week with
historically low online shopping activity. Therefore, the equivalent
spike in online shopping activity occurred on Monday,
December 27, 2004, the first weekday following Christmas. The total
volume of transactions recorded on December 27, 2004 was 3.8 million, a
61 percent increase as compared to Friday, December 26, 2003 (the first
weekday following Christmas in 2003). This also represented an eight
percent increase as compared to Monday, December 29, 2003 (the first
Monday following Christmas 2003).
– The total amount spent from Thanksgiving 2004 through Monday,
December 27, 2004 was $8.8 billion, a $1.7 billion – or 24 percent
– increase in sales as compared to the same period in 2003 (Thursday,
November 27, 2003 to Monday, December 29, 2003).
– The average sale amount during the time-period from Thanksgiving 2004
through Monday, December 27, 2004 was $145, a 12 percent increase as
compared to the same time period in 2003 (Thursday, November 27, 2003
to Monday, December 29, 2003). The average ticket price reached a high
of $178 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004.
VeriSign’s ability to correlate intelligence gathered across the Internet
enables the company to identify market trends such as changes in Internet
shopping patterns that may impact vendors with an online presence. As such, in
addition to reporting on the week of December 20, VeriSign also issued data
collected during the week of December 6 and December 13, which can be found
2004/page_020992.html and http://www.verisign.com/verisign-inc/news-and-
Additionally, on November 30, VeriSign issued e-commerce statistics regarding
the impact of online shopping on traditional brick-and-mortar retail shopping
events such as the Friday after Thanksgiving, commonly known as “Black
Friday.” These statistics are currently available at: