US online sales surge 13%

2010-12-30 08:39

New York - Americans clicked up a record $30.8bn in online holiday sales in 2010, a jump of 13% from a year ago, a survey showed Wednesday.

The research firm comScore said holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the 56 days of the November-December holiday period had been fueled by a late surge in spending -- some $2.45bn was spent online in the week to December 26, a 17% 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 $31bn," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"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," he added.

"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."

Among the big sellers for the gift-giving season were computer and related products, up 23%; books and magazines (22%); consumer electronics (21%); computer software (20%) and toys (16%).

A separate survey this week by MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, showed a 5.5% increase in overall holiday spending, excluding autos, in the period from November 5 through December 24.

"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."