Online spending tops US$100 billion

Consumer spending on US retail Web sites rose above US$100b for the first time in 2006, a report said Thursday

Driven by a strong rise in holiday spending, U.S. retail Web sites collected US$102.1 billion (AUD$128.4 billion) in 2006, marking a 24 percent increase over last year, according to a report released Thursday.

Holiday shoppers spent US$24.6 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2006, a rise of 26 percent over 2005, according to the report from comScore Networks. The numbers include consumer spending in all sectors except travel.

Spending jumped in the last two months of the year, pushing the total over US$100 billion for the first time, said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore.

Without the need to visit brick-and-mortar shops in person, online shoppers spread their spending over a longer period. The Monday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the heaviest shopping days of the year for U.S. retailers, but in 2006 it was just another day. The US$607.6 million spent on "Cyber Monday," Nov. 27, was surpassed on 11 other days before the end of the year.

By delaying their shopping until the last days before winter holidays, shoppers showed their growing trust in online retailers' ability to ship goods through the mail quickly, the report said. The top three days of online spending for the year were Dec. 13 (US$666.9 million), Dec. 11 (US$660.8 million) and Dec. 4 (US$647.5 million).

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