The highlights of the holiday season are being presented in dribs and drabs. Earning seasons will tell us a lot. The consumer was clearly trying to generate energy in fits and starts. Spending was still tamped down.

But within the story about overall spending, theres another significant trend: More and more buying went online.

The table to the right from eMarketer shows the change in retail e-commerce during the holiday season from 2008 to 2009. The figures suggest that a significant portion of consumers are incorporating their e-commerce behaviors into a multi-channel shopping strategy.

My experience reflects that. On December 20th or so, my wife and I went online and ordered about 80% of what we needed for our five kids for Christmas. The few days before Christmas, we shopped locally to get a couple of bigger gifts and to fill around the edges. Id estimate that 75% of our Holiday shopping happened online and in the last week of the season.

The traditional metrics of Holiday tracking, which get huge coverage in the news, dont capture this real economic activity.


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