In the March 2000 issue of this News Update series we reported on the first month's results of the National Retail Federation and Forrester Research Online Retail Index. This index was designed to provide a monthly measurement of the growth and seasonality of consumer online spending. Presented here are the results for the first nine months of the year 2000.
What follows is a 9-month summary of two categories most closely related to home improvement: (1) tools & hardware, and (2) garden supplies. Grand totals are also shown for all category spending.
For the first nine months of 2000, total online spending has been estimated at $31.3 billion. The tools & hardware category has represented $477.8 million or 1.5% of that total while garden supplies have been somewhat less at $285.1 million or 0.9%.
While it appears quite clear that total online sales have displayed a steady, upward growth pattern over the first nine months of this year, the same cannot be said for either of the two home improvement product categories. Clearly, the larger of the two home improvement groups is tools & hardware. While peaking in the month of June on the basis of total dollars, this category fell off sharply in terms of percentage of total online sales over the next 3 consecutive months. Tools & hardware reached its highest percentage of total in February at 2.0% and its lowest at 1.2% in September. Showing even more erraticism is the category for garden supplies. It achieved its highest percentage shares in February and April at 1.3% and dropped as low as 0.5% in the month of August. As a percentage of total online sales, garden supplies began its downward spiral in May. It nearly halved its April's dollar level in the month of August then sprang back up in September with over an 80% increase versus the previous month.
Whether these results are due to the newness of this marketing channel or the reliability of the survey data (or both) remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is the niche that each one of these two product categories has been able to carve out for itself in the overall e-tail market.
In the month of September alone, this Retail Index estimates that over 836,000 households made an online purchase of tools & hardware averaging $59.46 each versus over 759,000 households for garden supplies averaging $54.79 each.
The index is based on 5,000 responses to an online panel fielded by Greenfield Online during the first 9 business days of each month. The monthly panel is weighted to Forrester Research's Benchmark Panel which surveyed nearly 90,000 U.S and Canadian members of a consumer panel developed by NPD Group, the market research firm which conducted HIRI's 2000 Product Purchase Tracking Study (PPTS). The data was then weighted to demographically represent the total North American population.
For more details of this survey, please visit NRF's Web site at www.nrf.com .
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