Sales at online retailers are up 31 percent since Nov. 19, from the same period last year, according to e-commerce ratings service BizRate.com.
That increase over last years numbers has stayed fairly consistent since BizRate began keeping track of this holiday seasons sales figures.
Various brands of digital cameras continue to be the most sought-after items this year, though the hottest item for Web searches Thursday was the Nintendo GameCube, BizRate reported.
Total online sales have reached nearly $4.5 billion from Nov. 19 through Dec. 13, according to the Marina Del Rey, Calif., research firm. Computer hardware is the leading seller, online, generating $901.41 million, up 55 percent from last year. Electronics have enjoyed the biggest year-over-year increase, up 114 percent to $589.48 million. Apparel is the biggest loser, down 11 percent to $355.43 million.
But business is not going smoothly at some online retailers. Keynote Systems Inc. reported that online retailers have actually fallen behind in their fulfillment capabilities this holiday season. Orders are being delivered to customers in an average of six days, six hours, up from four days and 15 hours last holiday season. Though the numbers may come down a bit as customers place rush orders in the last week of the holiday shopping season.
Online retailers are taking two days to process orders, compared to 1.5 last year. But theyre still exceeding their shipping and delivery promises, which average 11 days and 17 hours.
Sites on average were 98.6 percent available last week—the last week metrics are available for—with Gap.com the fastest at .45 seconds per page download and Saks Fifth Avenues site the slowest at 6.45 seconds to load.
The best performing for transaction processing was J.C. Penneys site at 3.48 seconds, while Victorias Secrets site was the slowest at 13.23 seconds. The average transaction processing time was 8.24 seconds.