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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald