April 29, 2011, 11:34 AM

E-commerce sales head into overdrive

A 16.6% year-over-year rise in March sales followed a 13.2% rise in February. March was the fifth consecutive month of double-digit growth in online retail sales.

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If post-recession consumer spending still isn't up to par, don't blame online retail. In the fifth consecutive month of double-digit growth, retail e-commerce sales rose 16.6% year over year in March, MasterCard Advisors, the consulting unit of MasterCard Worldwide, says in its SpendingPulse report.

The March hike followed a 13.2% year-over-year rise in February.

MasterCard's estimate includes purchases made with all payment forms, including credit and debit cards of all brands, cash and checks. This month's report did not estimate spending in dollars.

Online apparel sales posted a large gain in March, increasing 18.7% year over year, the 16th consecutive month of growth for the category. By contrast, total apparel sales, which includes purchases made in bricks-and-mortar stores, increased 4.4% in March, MasterCard says. The March SpendingPulse report offered no other e-commerce figures, but did note that overall luxury sales showed a sixth consecutive month of growth, up 8.5% year over year, the largest monthly gain since December.

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

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