Americans clicked up a record US$30.8 billion in online holiday sales this year, a jump of 13 percent from a year ago, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The research firm comScore said holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the 56 days of the Christmas holiday period had been fueled by a late surge in spending — US$2.45 billion was spent online in the week to Sunday, a 17 percent jump.
“Online holiday spending has remained strong through Christmas and we’ve already seen the season totals easily surpass the levels of the past few years to set a new record for spending at almost US$31 billion,” comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said.
“For at least this holiday season, the American consumer has been able to shrug off the continuing economic challenges of high unemployment rates and depressed housing prices, and spend at a rate that has been slightly stronger than we had expected,” Fulgoni said.
“After the past few years’ struggles, it is gratifying to see e-commerce return to a state that can only be described as a very merry holiday shopping season,” he added.
Among the big sellers for the gift-giving season were computer and related products, up 23 percent; books and magazines (22 percent); consumer electronics (21 percent); computer software (20 percent); and toys (16 percent).
A separate survey this week by MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse showed a 5.5 percent increase in overall holiday spending, excluding autos, in the period from Nov. 5 through Friday last week.
“If last year’s holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year’s is about getting back to growth,” said Michael McNamara, vice president at SpendingPulse. “We also saw a noticeable return in spending in the larger ticket items, as exemplified by the solid growth in jewelry, luxury and even the furniture category.”