Quirky Sites for Major Holiday Savings
PORTLAND, Ore. ( MainStreet) It's late in the season, but you're nowhere near your last chance to finish up your holiday shopping.
ComScore is already predicting that the $42.3 billion spent online last holiday season will grow this year by 14%, to $48.1 billion. Despite an otherwise sluggish shopping season, online shoppers have come through by increasing their online Thanksgiving spending 21%, from $633 million in 2011 to $766 million this year. Black Friday shopping put 15% more weight in Santa's sleigh by boosting online spending from $1.04 billion last year to $1.2 billion during this year's event. Amazon came out on top yet again, but Wal-Mart , Best Buy , Target and eBay rounded out the Top 5.
We still haven't made it through all the big online shopping days yet. Cyber Monday sales jumped 18%, to $1.7 billion -- outpacing Black Friday's online total -- while Green Monday spending outpaced last year's total by 10%, bringing in $1.4 billion. That still leaves Free Shipping Day on the table for Wednesday, which is no small deal considering the more than $1 billion in online shopping done on that holiday last year neared Black Friday territory and was more flush than even this year's Thanksgiving spending.
There's a reason online outlets are reaping all the rewards. All together, the 38% of American consumers who did their holiday shopping online in 2004 has grown to roughly 52% this year, according to surveys from the National Retail Federation. Meanwhile, the percentage of those shunning online shopping has dropped from 23.5% to less than 16% during that span. Free shipping offers and online coupons help, but so do mobile devices that make it easy to place an online order without being lashed to the desk or couch.
All that said, online shopping still represents a small market with big potential. The Department of Commerce notes that online purchases make up only about 6% of retail sales, but small retailers should see that as a chance to elbow into the big guys' territory a bit. We've been highlighting small, quirky sites around the holidays for several years now , so just consider the following 10 online shops the continuation of a growing holiday tradition:
Well, that does it. This site confirmed what those living in Brooklyn's Western, subway adjacent, stroller-strewn neighborhoods have known for some time: Big swaths of Brooklyn are now a mall. Not that gaudy, logo-laden, wide-aisled mall from wherever they lived before they came to Brooklyn, mind you, but a boutique-filled corridor of brownstones where the shops look like a dream sequence from a Nancy Meyers movie and the air smells of a coffee shop bake sale. Remarkably, a decreasing amount U.S. shoppers can actually afford to live this experience and would be horrified by what their rent check would get them if they could. That's where Strolby comes in. Dreamed up by Brooklynite-by-way-of-San Antonio, Texas, Lara Fitch and her New Jersey business partner Sima Patel, Strolby takes goods from some of the pairs favorite shops and makes them available to the masses -- with free ground shipping for orders of $50 or more. Want a box of whoopie pies from One Girl Cookies in DUMBO? Thirty dollars. Want that perfect little polka dot dress from A Lovely Universe in Boerum Hill? Sixty-nine dollars. Need a flask for your single-gear bike from Milley & Earl in Williamsburg? Twenty-five dollars. While Strolby presents a very small window onto life in Brooklyn -- basically a shop window -- it's a lovely little cheat sheet of the small shops that have helped residents fill out their gift lists for years. Minus the subway ride or the high percentage of your paycheck handed over for rent, it's even more ideal.