Online holiday shopping up 15%

Consumers spend $36.4 billion on the Internet this season

For my final post on Christmas Eve, I thought it'd be nice to get away from all the "technology" talk and discuss what makes this holiday season truly special: buying stuff. Consumer spending online during the 2010 holiday-shopping season reached $36.4 billion, up more than 15 percent from a year ago.

That's according to a survey by MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracked retail and service sales across the U.S. from Oct. 31 through Dec. 23. Internet sales now comprise about 10 percent of all retail purchases (excluding automobiles), according to SpendingPulse. “Today, e-commerce accounts for a much larger share of overall retail sales compared to a few years ago. And during this holiday season, it registered double-digit growth for 6 out of 7 weeks,” Michael McNamara, vice president at MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said in a statement. Internet retail purchases topped the $1 billion mark on six different days, versus only three days in the year-ago period. The top day was Nov. 30, with $1.16 billion in sales. As for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) it saw $999.3 million in sales, a gain of 25.3 percent from last year's Cyber Monday. It's nice to see new holiday traditions catching on.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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