The final tally is in, and it was a happy holiday for retailers engaging in digital commerce, with help from strong mobile performance.
According to data from comScore, total digital spend for the holiday season (including preliminary mobile commerce estimates) reached $69.1 billion in 2015. This represents about a 13% annual gain from $61.3 billion spent in the 2014 season.
Mobile commerce is estimated to have accounted for 18% of total digital commerce in November-December 2015, an increase from 13 percent in the previous season. A total of$12.7 billion was spent via smartphones and tablets during this period, up a significant 59% from the prior year
For the holiday season, comScore reports $56.4 billion was spent online on desktop computers, marking a 6% increase from the previous year. Cyber Monday (Monday, Nov. 30) once again ranked as the heaviest spending day of the year with more than $2 billion in desktop buying for the second year in a row.
comScore's holiday season forecast had expected desktop e-commerce to grow 9% to $58.3 billion and mobile commerce to grow 47% to $11.7 billion. While desktop spending fell short by three percentage points and $1.9 billion, preliminary mobile estimates suggest it exceeded forecast by 12 percentage points and nearly $1 billion, helping to offset the shortfall on desktop.
"Despite falling slightly short of our original forecast, the 2015 online holiday shopping season was nevertheless very successful with growth rates well into double digits and once again far exceeding that of brick-and-mortar," said comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. "Fairly early on it became clear that desktop e-commerce would likely underperform our expectations while mobile commerce was poised to over perform.”
Fulgoni said in particular, expected desktop spending increases did not materialize the week before Christmas, and spending began to soften more than expected by the Wednesday of that week.