Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Yep. A Pretty Good Holiday for Online Retailers.

As predicted, online retailers did okay during the holiday season. Actually, a little bit better than predicted, according to comScore. The Web-tracking service predicted a three percent bump and is now reporting that sales jumped by five percent in the last two months of the year. That’s $27 billion and change, all told.

The summary table (click to enlarge):
comscore holiday sales

A couple points:

  • Sales were pretty lousy last year, what with the economic collapse and everything. So a five percent increase over that isn’t staggering.
  • As comScore (SCOR) has pointed out throughout the season, it was the big guys–Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Wal-Mart (WMT)–that dominated online sales this season.
  • The numbers don’t tell you what sort of stuff people were buying, but comScore says folks spent a lot on consumer electronics (I, for example, am the very happy new owner of a 32-gig iPod touch) and jewelry and watches (nope).
  • Look what happens when it snows a lot, as it did 10 days ago. People stay home but keep shopping.
  • No clue what was going on Dec. 15, though. Thoughts?

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik