Online holiday shopping winds down –

Consumer online spending hit US$1.9 billion last week, up 19 percent from the week before Christmas a year ago, comScore Networks Inc. said Tuesday morning.

Apparently, many in the U.S. will be opening home and garden gifts over the holiday. That non-travel category was the fastest growing, rising 78 percent in dollar sales over a year ago, reaching $555 million from Nov. 1 until Dec. 20, said comScore, based in Reston, Virginia. Furniture and appliances were next in growth, up 75 percent from that same period a year ago to sales of $171 million.

Of course, toys also were a big seller online, with $396 million in sales, up 61 percent in the year-ago period, comScore found in its fastest-growing rankings. Sports and fitness gear ranked fourth in overall growth, up 54 percent to $233 million. Rounding out the top five was jewelry and watches at $216 million, up 45 percent over last year's online sales for the same period.

Among the fastest-growing categories, apparel and accessories was the largest overall seller in dollar terms at $1.4 billion, which is 31 percent higher than the year-ago period. Consumer electronics also topped the $1 billion mark, though barely, for growth of 21 percent.

Reflecting the IT industry overall, computer hardware online holiday sales sagged 1 percent, but remained the biggest category for dollar sales at $1.63 billion among the largest major non-travel categories tracked by comScore. Hardware was followed by apparel and accessories and consumer electronics.

Cumulative online sales for Nov. 1 through Dec. 20 were $12.6 billion, an increase of 29 percent from the year-ago period, with non-travel sales up 23 percent to $8.5 billion and travel sales up 51 percent to $4.1 billion, comScore found.

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