Holiday shoppers brought good cheer to e-commerce retailers, spending $27 billion online from November 1 through December 24, a 5 percent jump over last year, ComScore reported Wednesday.
The period from Black Friday through Christmas Eve was also bright and merry as sales grew by around 3.5 percent, even after adjusting for an additional shopping day this year. Consumer electronics proved to be the hottest selling category, rising 20 percent. Larger retailers outpaced smaller vendors thanks in part to their use of free shipping and marketing via social-networking sites, said ComScore.
The growth in this year's online holiday sales showed improvement over 2008, when sales dropped by 3 percent. Results were likely helped by a snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast the weekend of December 19-20, forcing many shoppers to pick up those last-minute gifts online.
"Online sales growth this year was driven by a continued increase in the number of people buying online, but consumers' economic challenges resulted in a slight decline versus last year in the amount spent per buyer," said ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni in a statement. "The season featured a strong start as a result of early retailer promotions and a very strong finish helped by the snowstorms that occurred the weekend of December 19-20, retailers' willingness to offer free shipping later in the season, and consumers' confidence in expedited shipping arriving in time."