December 17, 2012, 11:05 AM

A record for billion-dollar days

2012 has 11 days in which web retailers sold more than $1 billion, comScore says.

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While Dec. 25 is fast approaching, shoppers still had not finished checking items off their gift lists at the beginning of last week, research from web measurement firm comScore Inc. shows.

Monday, Dec. 10, a day many call Green Monday, kicked off a strong online holiday sales week with four billion-dollar-plus days between Monday and Friday, Dec. 14, comScore says. Those figures make that the heaviest five-day online shopping period on record.

For the full week beginning Saturday, Dec. 8, shoppers spent $6.99 billion online, up about 11% compared to $6.32 billion for the same week last year. And on Monday alone, U.S. consumers spent $1.28 billion online, a 13.3% jump from $1.13 billion on the corresponding Monday a year earlier, making that day the third-heaviest online shopping day of the year. Last year, shoppers spent at least $1 billion online on 10 days during the holiday shopping season, according to comScore. This year has already surpassed that number with consumers spending that much online on 11 days.

This year’s Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the heaviest web sales day both for this year and on record with shoppers spending $1.47 billion online on Monday, Nov. 26. Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 ranks as the second-highest online spending day ever with $1.36 billion. That is followed by Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, (Green Monday) with $1.28 billion; Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, with $1.26 billion and Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 (Cyber Monday 2011) with $1.25 billion.

Holiday shoppers have spent $33.8 billion online between Nov. 1 and Dec. 14 this year, marking a 13% increase compared to the corresponding days last year, comScore says.  ComScore tracks the online purchasing behavior of 1 million U.S. consumers for its projections.

 “With this most recent week in the books, the peak spending period may now be in our rear-view-mirror,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. But the online holiday shopping season is not over yet, he notes, especially with Free Shipping Day being today, Dec. 17.

The fifth annual Free Shipping Day hosted by FreeShipping.org, was set for a Monday for the first time this year. The move is designed to boost sales, says FreeShipping.org founder Luke Knowles. Mondays are a key day for targeting online holiday shoppers because that’s when consumers return to work after the weekend, time they may have spent shopping or discussing gifts with friends and relatives. Many office workers are in front of a computer much of the day, and can quickly make an online purchase.

Retailers including Urban Outfitters Inc. have been promoting the day. The apparel retailer sent an e-mail this morning offering free shipping reading: “It’s national FREE Shipping Day. Who knew?!”

Additionally, while online sales growth for the season thus far is at 13%, comScore expects it to grow more than that because of the two additional days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, a result of Thanksgiving falling on the earliest possible date in 2012.  

MasterCard Advisors, the consulting unit of MasterCard Worldwide, noted today in its weekly SpendingPulse report that the final 10 days before Christmas accounted for 24% of the season’s retail sales, and were particularly important for jewelry and luxury goods retailers. “Between the unusual weather and calendar shifts in 2012,” MasterCard said in its report, “the stretch run could be even more important for retailers looking for a positive season.”

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