E-commerce. Up? Down? All Around?
Welcome to this Friday’s version of surveys, research and statistics to ponder. Of course, how and what you ponder always has more to do with the source of the statistics and your mood which makes the numbers kinda funky but ‘Hey!’, if we didn’t have stats what would we do with our days?
This latest statistical ‘he said / she said’ consists of different numbers regarding the state of e-commerce. Today’s particpants are, “In the red corner”, comScore. They are in the red corner because they are reporting that e-commerce is slipping for the first time in the history of the world (you get it right?). “In the blue corner” is Forrester who tells everyone to not get our knickers in a twist because even in the cruddy economy e-commerce is the light on the hill or a veritable economic ‘beacon o’ hope’. Today’s match is brought to you by the Wall Street Journal.
On Thursday, comScore reported that U.S. online spending in the third quarter slipped 2% to $29.6 billion versus last year. That represents the first time since comScore began tracking the figures that online spending has shrunk for two quarters in a row. (Online shopping was flat in the first quarter, and slipped 1% in the second quarter.) ComScore was slightly more upbeat about the potential of growth in the fourth quarter, if only because we’ll be comparing it to last year’s dismal fourth quarter.
But on Monday, Forrester Research put out a report that reached a different conclusion: online sales in November and December are likely to grow 8% compared to last year. Moreover, a survey Forrester conducted with the National Retail Foundation found that online retailers reported sales in the third quarter grew 16%.
Geesh, can’t we all just get along? Let’s just say this. The rest of the article is the two researchers pointing fingers at each other saying that how they collect data is better than the other guy and having a researchers equivalent of a “my dad can beat up your dad” argument.
How about we do this? How about we look at what has happened and then work toward getting better. Then we assess if we did or did not get better after we actually DID SOMETHING! What a concept.
Aren’t rosy predictions and unfettered prognostications how we got into this mess in the first place? Isn’t predicting the future that never was a mistake? If the Internet truly is a better way to do things then why can’t we find a better way to assess things rather than act like we have some magic 8-ball or crystal ball that tells the future as well. We don’t.
My prediction? People will go out and do their very best to make something happen in Q4 regardless of these predictions and then they will live in the world of reality of whether things are good or bad, not in the fantasy land of what they may or may not be in the future. This research is for the big boys and not the rest of the world and even then it’s dicey at best. One man’s opinion. Have a fun Friday!