Online Shopping Season Peaked Last Week, but It’s Not Over Yet

The holiday shopping season is rapidly coming to a close, although many e-commerce sites are still promising on-time deliveries if orders are made by later this week.


Image by mbortolino

Amazon, which is known for being the king of fulfillment, says orders placed through Tuesday will arrive by Christmas Eve, and for its Prime members, orders can be made as late as Friday.

Deadlines for other retailers are scattershot during the rest of the week — Wednesday for Walmart and Thursday for Sears — but nearly all of the big retailers are willing to push delivery times even later for consumers willing to pay for expedited shipping. Some will accept orders as late as Dec. 20 and 21.

As of right now, online retailers should be pretty thrilled with what Santa has delivered this year.

For the first 44 days of the holiday season, sales have totaled $33.8 billion, a 13 percent jump over the same period last year, according to comScore, which measures purchases made online through broadband connections.

“With this most recent week in the books, the peak spending period may now be in our rear-view mirror — but the online holiday shopping season is not over yet,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Last week, four days surpassed the $1 billion threshold, making it the heaviest five-day online shopping period on record, comScore reports. So far, 11 days have exceeded $1 billion in spending, compared to 10 last year. It’s important to note that the results do not include sales that occur over mobile phones and tablets.

ComScore expects tomorrow to be another heavy shopping day as procrastinators scramble to order gifts in time. Years ago, Monday was coined “Free Shipping Day,” and that continues to be the case, but enthusiasm over the offer seems to have mellowed as free shipping has become standard for many retailers.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work