Biggest week in Online Shopping ever

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heaviest Week in U.S. Online Holiday Shopping History Pushes Season-to-Date Total to $32 Billion, Up 15 Percent vs. Year Ago

For the holiday season-to-date, nearly $32 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (week ending Dec. 18), led by four individual days surpassing $1 billion in sales, reached an all-time record of $6.3 billion in online retail spending, up 14 percent from the corresponding week last year. The final shopping weekend before Christmas reached $1.04 billion to rank as the second heaviest weekend of online spending on record.


Electronics products returns to cost $17B to US retailers & manufacturers

by Deepak Sharma on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Customers returning electronic devices will cost U.S. electronics retailers and manufacturers about $17 billion this year, an increase of about 21% from 2007, consulting company Accenture said in a new report. These costs include receiving, assessing, repairing, reboxing, restocking and reselling returned products.

U.S. Consumer Electronics Industry Faces a Projected $17 Billion Product Returns Bill This Year, Accenture Research Finds

The research is based in part on a survey of executives from communications carriers, consumer electronics retailing and consumer electronics manufacturing companies, which revealed that product return rates over the past three to five years have increased for more than half of the retailers (57 percent) and nearly half (43 percent) of the manufacturers surveyed. Only 13 percent of the retailers and 12 percent of the manufacturers surveyed indicated that return rates are trending downward.

However, the Accenture research also revealed a significant opportunity for the industry to cut costs and reduce the level of product returns, given that only 5 percent of returns are related to actual product defects. While 27 percent reflect “buyer’s remorse,” 68 percent of returned products ultimately are characterized as “No Trouble Found.” This means that, despite the customer perceiving a fault, no problem was detected when the item was tested against specifications set by retailers or manufacturers, according to Accenture’s new published report, titled “A Returning Problem: Reducing the Quantity and Cost of Product Returns in Consumer Electronics,” which captures key findings and insights based on the survey (

The report also concludes that solving this No Trouble Found problem – or even reducing it slightly – could have a significant impact on the cost of returns. Accenture has calculated that a 1 percent reduction in the number of No Trouble Found cases could translate to annual savings of 4 percent in return and repair costs, or $21 million for a typical large consumer electronics manufacturer and $16 million for the average consumer electronics retailer.

Science of Lines

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dynamics and Science behind the long queues you see at the registers.

Find the Best Checkout Line

Much of the work grows from more nuanced understandings of how people perceive waiting in line. Shoppers tend to become impatient quickly and fail to take into account key indicators of what may slow down a line. They experience remorse when they feel they've chosen the wrong (i.e. slower) line. And they prefer to choose their own line rather than wait in a single-file line for the next available register—even though that set-up has proven to be faster, research on queuing shows.

The Science of Lines

Retail e-Commerce Spending sets new weekly record propelled by free shipping

by Deepak Sharma on Sunday, December 04, 2011

$6 Billion in 'Cyber Week' U.S. Online Spending Sets New Weekly Record as Three Individual Days Surpass $1 Billion Threshold.
comScore a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 32 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $18.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week saw three individual days eclipse $1 billion in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.25 billion. Tuesday, November 29 reached $1.12 billion, while Wednesday, November 30 reached $1.03 billion. These three billion dollar spending days currently rank as three of the four heaviest online spending days in history (with Cyber Monday 2010 being the other).

2011 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2010
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Millions ($)
November 1 – December 2
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24)
Black Friday (Nov. 25)
Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov. 26-27)
Cyber Monday (Nov. 28)
Week Ending Dec. 2

*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru December 3, 2010)
Free shiping is a big factor in this surge in e-commerce spending.

comScore's analysis of the incidence of free shipping used for online retail transactions shows that this incentive is being used at record levels over the first few weeks of the holiday season. Throughout the 2011 holiday season, more than half of all transactions have included free shipping with rates increasing later into the season. The week of Thanksgiving (week ending Nov. 27) saw free shipping occur on 64.4 percent of transactions, while Cyber Week has maintained a similar level at 63.2 percent.