January 4, 2007, 12:00 AM

2006 ends the year with a surge in online sales

The week before Christmas experienced a 45% increase in sales over the same week a year ago, comScore Networks reports, as holiday sales finished the year up 26% and sales for the full year rose 24% to $102.1 billion.


Online retail sales in 2006 reached $102.1 billion, up 24% from 2005, comScore Networks Inc. reports. Year-over-year growth accelerated as the year wrapped, with online sales in the last two months growing 26% over the year-earlier period, reaching $24.6 billion from $19.6 billion.

“2006 was certainly an exceptional year for online retailers as e-commerce spending eclipsed $100 billion for the first time, and growth remained very strong with a 24% increase versus last year,” says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks. “The online holiday shopping season of course played a vital role in the year’s success, as spending accelerated during the final two months of the year, helping push total online retail spending over the $100 billion threshold.”

Daily online retail spending broke $600 million for the first time on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, when sales hit $607.6 million. Then 11 more days set records after that. With the highest being $666.9 million on Dec. 13. In comparison, just six days in 2005 reached $500 million in online sales, with the top day, Monday, Dec. 12, registering $556 million.

ComScore also reports that online shoppers pushed the deadline for buying. Spending growth during the first third of the season rose 23% above 2005 levels. The middle third of the season, during which the greatest share of holiday e-commerce spending occurred, was consistent with the 26% growth demonstrated during the course of the season as a whole. The final three weeks of the holiday season experienced a major surge in spending, with sales up 31% over the corresponding weeks in 2005. ComScore reports that the week leading up to Christmas had the biggest surge, with a 45% increase over the corresponding week a year ago. “Consumers showed their faith in online retailers’ ability to deliver the goods in time for Christmas,” comScore reported.


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