Online spending down ... except for toys, games and books?

Decline of 1% year over year shows tough times are far from over

A curious contradiction? Or perfectly understandable? I could go either way.

Overall online retail spending decreased 1 percent in the second quarter, according to comScore, only the second such year-over-year decrease on record (the first was Q4 2008). From the comScore press release:

"The marginally negative growth in Q2, on the heels of flat growth in Q1, signals that online retail spending has yet to turn the corner after a disappointing end to last year," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Unfortunately, it appears that the reality of nearly 10-percent unemployment and rising gas prices, coupled with an increased savings rate, continues to hold down consumers' discretionary spending and it may still take some time to dig our way out of this recession."

The economy may be holding down discretionary spending in some areas, but not all.

Spending on toys and hobbies was reported up 21%.

Books and magazines generated 17% higher sales.

And, video games, consoles and accessories registered a 15% increase.

Can't chalk it up to pre-Christmas sales, that's for sure. Perhaps it's just a case of all of those unemployed individuals having to fill their days somehow. It's long been said that the movie industry does well in hard times because those struggling or worried about their livelihoods need to be distracted from those concerns.

Makes sense to me, although I have a hard time justifying more spending on hobbies or video games these days.

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