December 12, 2011, 10:34 AM

E-retailers power through the holiday season

Online shoppers have spent nearly $25 billion so far this holiday season.

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Consumers have spent $24.6 billion with online retailers since Nov. 1, up 15.0% from the $21.4 billion spent online at the same point a year ago, comScore Inc. says in its latest e-commerce spending estimate. The web measurement firm’s figures account for spending between Nov. 1 and Dec. 9.

Online sales for the week ending Dec. 9 reached $5.9 billion, up 15.7% from $5.1 billion for the same week last year. Last week’s sales estimates show that consumers continued to strongly shop online despite the fact that e-retailers have reduced their promotional activity level since the week following Thanksgiving.

“The most recent week of the online holiday shopping season saw growth rates remain in line with the season-to-date,” says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore. He notes that sales surpassed the $1 billion mark three times last week, on Monday ($1.18 billion), Tuesday ($1.11 billion) and Thursday ($1.02 billion). The top online spending day this season remains the Monday following Thanksgiving, commonly known as Cyber Monday, at $1.25 billion. “These highlights represent another very positive sign for the holiday shopping season, as the week following ‘Cyber Week’ often experiences relative softness in spending momentum due to retailers pulling back on promotional activity.” Cyber Week is the marketing label for the week following Thanksgiving.

Consumers’ strong spending last week bodes well for sales this week, Fulgoni says. The second week in December is when e-retailers typically offer discounts or promotions aimed at luring consumers to buy with them before free shipping deadlines start to expire. Today, the second Monday in December, is sometimes referred to by marketers as Green Monday because it traditionally is one of the top online spending days of the season. Consumers on the corresponding day last year spent $954 million online, according to comScore data.

Promotional activity will continue throughout the week and nearly 1,900 e-retailers are expected to close the week Friday by participating in Free Shipping Day, a marketing event organized by the web site FreeShipping.org. Last year, 1,750 e-retailers participated in the event that promotes free shipping opportunities with e-retailers. Consumers spent approximately $942 million online on Free Shipping Day last year, which at that time made it the third-highest day for online sales ever, comScore says.

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