Online shopping drops in 2009

First year on record to post a decrease; book purchases up

Online shopping in the U.S. fell for the first time on record in 2009, dropping 2% year-over-year to $210 billion.

The shrinking e-commerce number follows a 6% gain in 2008 over the year prior, and double-digit gains just about every year prior to that.

At $913 million, the busiest e-commerce shopping day of the year was Tuesday, Dec. 15, marking the first day in history to eclipse the $900 million mark.

The data comes from comScore's 2009 U.S. Digital Year in Review released Tuesday.

Even with dropping overall e-commerce, some categories rose, most significantly books and magazines, up 12%.

And comScore noted that, even while e-commerce fell, it still increased its share of overall consumer spending.

ComScore said online video continued to boom, with six of seven U.S. Internet users viewing video online during December. Of those who viewed video, they consumed an average of 187 of them apiece in December, up 95% from the same month a year earlier.

The length of the videos also grew, from 3.2 minutes apiece in December 2008 to 4.1 minutes in December 2009.

In December 2008 about 150 million people viewed 14 billion videos, while in December 2009 it grew to 178 million who viewed 33 billion videos.

Search grew 16% in 2009 over the prior year, due to a 6% gain in unique searchers and a 10% gain in search queries per searcher.

Internet users viewed 4.3 trillion display ads, both static and rich but excluding video, in 2009, up 21% over 2008.