Holiday online retail spending up significantly in 2003

Holiday shoppers took to the Web in droves to purchase gifts in 2003, spending significantly more online than they did in 2002, according to preliminary figures that market researcher and consultancy comScore Networks Inc. released Monday.

Holiday online retail spending in the US, excluding travel and auctions, reached US$12.5 billion in 2003, up 29.5 percent over 2002, according to comScore, which defines the holiday shopping season as the period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. ComScore had expected an increase in holiday online retail spending of between 25 percent and 30 percent.

For the full 2003 year, online retail spending, excluding travel and auctions, grew 22 percent over 2002 to US$52 billion. Including travel, the total was US$93 billion, up 27 percent over 2002.

Online travel was a particularly shining segment, with sales growing 35 percent over 2002, according to comScore.