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U.S. online holiday shopping climbs 15 percent this year

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 19th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Americans must be increasingly comfortable with using their personal computers, tablets and smart phones to shop for the holidays. U.S. shoppers spent 15 percent more in online holiday buying in contrast to 2010. Research firm comScore says the past weekend may have been the busiest week of the season.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Shoppers have spent $30.9 billion online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 16, up from $26.9 billion the same time last year. The firm comScore based in Reston, Virginia tracks Web use.

Online sales surpassed $1 billion on four days last week. Total sales for the week climbed 15 percent to $6.31 billion compared to last year.

The five days that ended on Friday "will almost certainly be the heaviest week of the online holiday shopping season," comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni says. Online spending is expected to slow as Christmas draws closer.

"Cyber Monday," the Monday after Thanksgiving remains the largest online shopping day ever, according to comScore. Sales for that day rose 22 percent from last year to $1.25 billion. As proof of the increasing use of online shopping in the U.S., Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion for the first time last year.

Discounting and promotions have also boosted shopping this year, ComScore says that shoppers have received free shipping on at least half of all their purchases in each week of this year's holiday shopping season.

The term "Cyber Monday" is a neologism invented by Shop.org, part of the U.S. trade association National Retail Federation. It was first used within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season.

According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on 2004 research showing "one of the biggest online shopping days of the year" was the Monday after Thanksgiving (12th-biggest day historically). Retailers also noted the biggest period was December 5 through 15 of the previous year.

In late November 2005, the New York Times reported that "The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked."

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