Online Holiday Sales Soar to $30.8 Billion

comScore’s latest statistics on online consumer spending show a 13% increase over online sales last year; the New York Times reports that overall retail spending rose just 5.5%.

Weekly U.S. Online Holiday Retail Sales thru December 26, 2010

The comScore report also details the top categories for consumer spending. Topping that list: computer hardware (i.e., iPads, e-readers, laptops and other handheld devices). Computer hardware not only tops the list of most purchased products this holiday season, but sales increased 23% from last year.

People are definitely loosening their pocketbooks, but it’s important to notice the shift in the way consumers are shopping these days.

It’s no coincidence that more people are buying handheld computer devices as online sales increase at such an astounding rate. With wider adoption of smartphones and other handheld devices, more people are able to access the Internet with ease—no matter where they are. This makes it easy to comparison shop around the world while perusing the aisles of a local store.

So, what should local businesses do?

Local businesses need to establish a strong online presence. They need to engage with consumers and provide value in a way that makes price-point less important. Social media can help. A well-optimized web site can help. But it must be done skillfully and professionally.

 A new way of looking at business is a necessity for any traditional business that wants to survive the digital shift in shopping.