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Online Sales Reach $102B in '06, Holiday E-Commerce Nears $25B

For the full year 2006, online retail spending (non-travel) reached $102.1 billion, a 24 percent increase from 2005, and online holiday (Nov. 1-Dec. 31) e-commerce accounted for $24.6 billion, up 26 percent from last year, according to comScore Networks.

"2006 was certainly an exceptional year for online retailers as e-commerce spending eclipsed $100 billion for the first time," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks. "The online holiday shopping season of course played a vital role in the year's success."

Twelve days during the two-month holiday season broke the $600 million mark for e-commerce spending. Just six days in 2005 reached $500 million in online sales, with the top day registering $556 million (Monday, December 12, 2005).

Wednesday, Dec. 13, marked the heaviest online spending day of 2006 with $667 million, followed by Monday, Dec. 11 ($661 million) and Monday, Dec. 4 ($648 million). Cyber Monday (Nov. 27) was surpassed 11 times during the subsequent weeks of the holiday season.

Online consumers delayed their holiday buying later than ever. Spending growth during the first third of the season (weeks 1-3) rose a modest 23 percent above 2005 levels, despite spending during the week before Thanksgiving, which grew 30 percent growth versus the corresponding week in 2005.

The middle third of the season (weeks 4-6), during which the greatest share of holiday e-commerce spending occurred, was consistent with the 26 percent growth demonstrated during the course of the season as a whole. The final three weeks of the holiday season (weeks 7-9) saw a major surge in spending as the procrastinators came out in full force, driving a 31 percent increase versus the corresponding weeks in 2005.

The week leading up to Christmas (week ended December 24) saw the biggest surge with a 45-percent increase versus the corresponding week a year ago, with consumers relying on online retailers' ability to deliver the goods in time for Christmas.

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