By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Reston, Va.--Though Comscore Inc. is predicting double-digit gains for online spending this holiday, the digital metrics firm notes that wage stagnation and lack of discretionary income among the middle class could weigh on the season.

Data released by the company Tuesday shows that total online retail spending is forecast to reach $61.1 billion during the two-month period, a 16 year increase as compared with last year.

Purchasing from a desktop computer in November and December is expected to climb 14 percent from last year to reach $53.2 billion, while mobile purchases are predicted to account for the remaining $7.9 billion, or 13 percent, of the total spend.

Also on Tuesday, Comscore released it estimates for third quarter spending this year, with purchases from desktop computers rising 13 percent year-over-year to $53.9 billion total. This marks the 20th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth and the 16th straight quarter of double-digit growth, the firm said. Mobile spending in the third quarter, accounting for purchases on smartphones and tablets, was up 17 percent compared with the prior-year period to hit $60.6 billion.

While the gains in online spending continue to be solid, they came at the expense of in-store sales for major department store chains, many of which reported soft third quarter sales.

“Although some lasting effects of the great recession still provide some overhang on the economy, many of the latest indicators point toward signs of optimism for consumer spending during the holidays. Negative economic sentiment is at a five-year low, the stock market is near all-time highs, and inflation has been kept in check,” said Gian Fulgoni, executive chairman emeritus of Comscore.

“The one negative is that real wages for many middle-class Americans have not grown and, in fact, may have declined slightly. That said, the recent trends we’ve seen in online consumer spending suggest that American consumers are ready to open their wallets and embrace the spirit of giving this holiday season.”



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