Online Holiday Sales: Grim

Published on November 24, 2008
by Peter Kafka

Holding back on your holiday shopping? You’re not alone. Retail sales plummeted in the first half of November, according to a new report from MasterCard (MA)–and the Web hasn’t been spared.

MasterCard Advisors, a unit of the credit card company, says sales in categories like apparel and electronics have dropped more than 19 percent in the first two weeks of November compared to the same time a year ago. E-commerce sales are comparatively better, but they’re still grim–down 7.5 percent, the company says.

Bad news, obviously, for Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) and everyone else who sells stuff online for a living. If you’re looking for a sunnier take, you can cling to more optimistic predictions from the likes of eMarketer, which thinks that e-commerce will eke out a four percent gain in November and December. UPDATE: Fresh prognostication from Barclays Capital (i.e., the investment bank formerly known as Lehman): three percent growth during the holiday season, which is down from the eight percent the research group had previously predicted.

Too unpleasant to contemplate early on a Monday morning? Agreed. Let’s think about something more upbeat. I’m pretty sure, for instance, that I am going to be able to buy a very nice television for not much money in the next couple months. I just hope I have a wall to hang it on.

[Image Credit: woohoo120]

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