Jingle Bells: Online Cash Registers Ringing

HolidayShopping

For the first 49 days of the season, holiday e-commerce spending is up 12% year-over-year, according to comScore. So far, that amounts to $28.36 billion spent online. The week ending December 19 reached $5.5 billion in spending -- an increase of 14% year-over-year.

"Spending growth has remained strong right through the final shopping weekend of the holiday season," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Furthermore, the final shopping weekend before Christmas reached $900 million in retail e-commerce spending -- representing a strong 17% growth rate versus last year.

"The growth rate of 17 percent witnessed during the final weekend capped off the heaviest online spending week of all time at $5.5 billion," Fulgoni added. "Although there are still nearly two weeks remaining before the end of the year, holiday spending is inching very close to the total for the entire 2009 holiday season, a sign of just how much the online retail landscape has improved in the past year."

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The positive numbers seem to follow negative spending forecasts released prior to the holiday season.

While still better than last year, Deloitte's retail group in September expected total holiday sales to climb just 2% to $852 billion this holiday period, excluding motor vehicles and gasoline.

At the time, Deloitte attributed its modest forecast to the continuing softness in both housing and employment, which is making consumers reluctant to spend.

Meanwhile, earlier in the holiday, heavy promotional activity by retailers pulled demand forward, so comScore suggested that 13% growth rates could not be sustained throughout the season.

Through the first 33 days of the November-December 2010 holiday season, ecommerce spending hit $16.8 billion -- a 12% increase year-over-year -- while Cyber Monday hit a record of just over $1 billion.

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