[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

ComScore has released its Q3 2012 U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates, showing that online retail spending reached $41.9 billion for the quarter, up 15 percent versus year ago. This represents the twelfth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and eighth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

“The Q3 growth rate of 15 percent growth remained in line with the prior quarter and provided confirmation of the strength in the e-commerce sector, despite a few negative headwinds in the macroeconomic environment during the quarter,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Such performance offers some optimism as we approach the holiday season, especially given recent improvements in consumer sentiment. With the housing market beginning to show signs of recovery in addition to increasing – if still underwhelming – job growth, there appears to be strong enough footing to support a very healthy online holiday shopping season.”

The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Consumer Electronics, Event Tickets, Apparel & Accessories, and Computer Software. Each category grew at least 16 percent vs. year ago.
According to comScore’s quarterly online retail survey, 37 percent of U.S. consumers say they have engaged in “showrooming” behavior where they use a smartphone while in a retail store to check prices or to even purchase a product online. This represents an increase of 5 percentage points in the past two quarters.

Despite a slow-moving economic recovery there has been marked improvement in consumer sentiment in the past quarter, although many consumers still remain challenged by economic conditions. 48 percent of U.S. consumers now rate the economy as ‘poor’ an 8-percentage point improvement vs. the prior quarter and the most pronounced improvement since early 2009 (following the worst of the financial crisis).