Shopping online has matured a lot and was still growing in leaps and bounds earlier in 2008, but the signs of a slowdown are emerging. The US firm comScore has looked at online spending in the US and it was down some 4% on last year's figures with a total spend of some $8.2 billion.
Shopping in the US at this time of year tends to revolve around people getting up early on the day after Thanksgiving (Thursday 27th this year) to go to sales that often run from 5am to 11am, imagine the rush on the morning the Harrods sale starts but in every town that has a Walmart or mall across the US. Thus it is hard to know whether people are anticipating large discounts in the sales and are holding back spending or whether people are really cutting back.
Online shopping is important since it drives a great deal of the advertising and while large firms like Google can cope with a reduction in advertising revenue, many smaller sites and startups may suffer. Woolworths announcement of filing a petition for administration reflects the difficulties for the retail sector. The world of broadband providers has not had any major failures, but there are signs from one or two smaller providers of problems if you look at what has happened in the past, for example, firms delaying issuing of Migration Authorisation Codes or simply not answering the telephone.