The Great E-pression
Call it the Great E-pression. Online spending growth in October fell to its lowest rate in seven years, and given the tenor of economic news these days, it’s almost certainly headed lower still.
According to research outfit comScore, online spending grew by just one percent over October 2007. That was its lowest monthly growth rate since 2001, the year comScore first began tracking it. Worse, it was the sixth consecutive month in which growth declined.
Dismal news for Internet retailers, who now find themselves offering steep discounts to court customers with less discretionary income. Of course, lower price-points mean less profit. But better some profit than none at all. “A lot of these retailers aren’t running on big margins to begin with, so it’s pretty challenging,” Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore (SCOR), told the New York Times. “But it’s a Catch-22 situation: They have to run these deals because that’s what consumers are looking for this season.”
Sad to say, but the e-commerce sector’s holidays will be anything but happy ones.