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Online Holiday Recap

U.S. consumers spent an estimated $36.4 billion in online purchases during the period Oct. 31 to Dec. 24, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, registering a 15.4% year-over-year increase over the 2009 holiday season.

SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.

Online sales registered double-digit growth for six out of seven weeks, and the apparel category led the growth, according to Michael McNamara, VP, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

"In terms of sub-categories, apparel was the clear leader, helping increase the channel's overall lift,” he said. “In terms of share, online apparel sales during the holiday season accounted for 18.8% of total sales in that category, compared with 16.9% in 2009.”

As for some of the other sub-sectors, online electronics also recorded significant gains, while jewelry, although still in positive territory, lagged behind, McNamara noted

There were six days in the 2010 season that surpassed $1 billion in sales compared with three days in 2009. Top days included Tuesday, Nov. 30, which registered $1.16 billion in sales, and Wednesday, Dec. 1, registering $1.13 billion. The Monday after Thanksgiving generated $999.3 million in sales, a 25.3% increase compared with the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2009.

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