January 3, 2013, 4:58 PM

Holiday e-commerce sales top $42 billion

That’s up nearly 14% from 2011, according to comScore.

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U.S. consumers spent $42.28 billion online in November and December, a 13.7% increase over $37.17 billion spent during the holiday shopping season in 2011, comScore Inc. reports today. Meanwhile, sales at U.S. chain stores, not including drug stores, increased just 3.1% year over year in the same period, according to ICSC, a trade organization for shopping centers.

Despite setting an e-commerce record and dwarfing comparable in-store sales growth, the sales fall short of comScore’s initial prediction that online holiday spending would reach $43.4 billion, says chairman Gian Fulgoni.

“This year’s growth rate is essentially on a par with last year’s,” he says. “While November started out at a very healthy 16% growth rate through the promotional period of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers almost immediately pulled back on spending, apparently due to concerns over the looming fiscal cliff and what that might mean for their household budgets in 2013. With Congress deadlocked throughout December, growth rates softened even further and never quite made up enough ground to reach our original expectation.”

For this holiday spending report, comScore measured spending between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Overall, the holidays generated 12 days of online spending greater than $1 billion, up from 10 days last year, comScore says. The top 10 heaviest online spending days in 2012 all fell in the holiday season, it reports, led by a record-setting Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving which fell on Nov. 26 this year and generated $1.465 billion. That was an increase of 17% from $1.251 billion last year. (ComScore did not immediately give details of the two remaining days.)

The next nine biggest days for e-commerce, with their online sales figures, were:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, $1.362 billion;
  • Monday, Dec. 10 (Green Monday), $1.275 billion;
  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, $1.263 billion;
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, $1.220 billion;
  • Friday, Dec. 14, $1.219 billion;
  • Thursday, Dec. 13, $1.135 billion;
  • Monday, Dec. 3, $1.117 billion;
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, $1.110 billion;
  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, $1.051 billion.
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