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iPad demand buoys US online computer sales

by Sarah Griffiths on 21 December 2010, 12:05

Tags: comScore

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Online sales of computers in the US have soared by 25 percent year-on-year in the 2010 Christmas shopping rush, driven by the demand for e-readers and most notably, Apple's iconic iPad.

A staggering $27.46bn has been squandered online in the first 47 days of the 2010 holiday period with computer hardware the most popular category to splurge pennies for presents on, according to a new report by comScore.

The report said: "Purchases of handheld devices (such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers drove much of the growth," which is perhaps unsurprising given how many news reports have highlighted the iPad as Christmas' must-have gift.

According to the report, online sales of computer hardware of any description increase by 25 percent in 2010, trumping the growth of consumer electronics, which grew by 22 percent.

Intriguingly, the sale of books and magazines online rose by 21 percent year-on-year despite the demand for e-readers and computer software, excluding PC games, rising 16 percent.

While iPad sales sadly won't be announced by Apple until its quarterly earnings in January, analyst expect the firm to shift more than its 4.19m sales of the previous quarter as the tablet is available in new markets and top of many people's Christmas wish-lists.

The report reckons the increase in US online Christmas shopping sales has also been given a sizeable boost by ‘free shipping day' which was a popular promotion in American that happened on 17 December and raked in a staggering $942m.

In fact the week beginning 13 December, which is traditionally really busy, saw shoppers splash $5.5bn online- a 14 percent rise from last year

comScore's chairman, Gian Fulgoni, said:"Free shipping has certainly become one of the prevalent themes of the 2010 holiday season. Since the week before Thanksgiving, we've seen the majority of online retail transactions use free shipping, which confirms the appeal of the offer for consumers.

"Free Shipping Day also appears to have driven a sustained late-season response, with free shipping transactions accelerating in importance in 2010 whereas they actually began to decline during the same period in 2009," he added.

Here is a chart of the top growing online retail categories from comScore.


Top growing retail product categories

Nov 1 - Dec 17 2010 vs. corresponding spending in 2009

Non-travel (retail) spending, excluding auctions and large corporate purchases

Total US - home/work/university locations  Source: comScore Inc.

Retail category

Percent change

Computer Hardware

25 %

Consumer Electronics


Books & Magazines


Computer Software ex PC games





HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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Where is this unstoppable demand for iPad coming from? Out of everyone I know there are only 1 or 2 people who have voiced interest in buying an iPad and I doubt they're gonna get one in the end. That includes my friends, friends of family, randomers on facebook and randomer friends of family. What demographic wants the iPad so badly?
Where is this unstoppable demand for iPad coming from?

I can only assume it is from the Rich and Famous.

Albeit business take up of the device seems high, all the TV presenters seem to have them on the morning shows and no doubt the roving reporters.

My friend is a sales rep and has been given one, as well as all employees in his company. He has a laptop to, so has given the iPad to his better half.