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Online spending rose 15 percent during holidays

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Reston-based comScore Inc. reports that online holiday spending in 2011 rose to more than $35 billion, a 15 percent increase from last year.

The company said $35.3 billion was spent online during the 56 days of the November–December holiday shopping season. The most recent week (ending Dec. 25) saw $2.8 billion in spending, an increase of 16 percent versus the corresponding week last year.

“Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season, and we have now reached a record $35 billion in U.S. online sales for the season-to-date,” Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman, said in a statement. “We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion dollar spending days this year.”

The company reported that one of the more striking developments in e-commerce in recent years is the dramatic increase in Christmas Day purchases of digital content and subscriptions, a retail category that includes digital downloads of music, TV, movies, e-books and apps. Many consumers get new smartphones, tablets, e-readers and digital content gift certificates for Christmas and then spend Christmas Day loading the devices with new content.

On an average day during the 2011 holiday season, digital content and subscriptions accounted for 2.8 percent of retail e-commerce sales. On Christmas Day the category accounted for more than 20 percent of sales.

ComScore monitors a wide variety of online activity.



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