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Rising tide lifts boat

1/3/2011 was second only to in terms of the number of unique visitors its website attracted this holiday season, and as such is well positioned to capture a large share of this year’s record online spending. Total online holiday sales advanced 13% to nearly $31 billion, according to the online measurement firm comScore. For the 56-day period beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 26, comScore data showed consumers turned to the Internet in record numbers, especially on such key days as Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and the final day of free shipping on Dec.17 when online volumes surged 61% to $942 million. This season saw its first billion-dollar sales day on Cyber Monday when sales hit $1,028 billion, a 16% increase from the prior year’s $887 million.

Commenting on the record level of spending, comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni noted, “For at least this holiday season, the American consumer bas been able to shrug off the continuing economic challenges of high unemployment rate and depressed housing prices and spend at a rate that has been slightly stronger than we had expected.”

The firm’s initial holiday sales forecast called for 11% growth and sales of $32.4 billion, a figure that is expected to be easily surpassed once the final tally including the entire month of December is available, especially as late December blizzards sent shoppers online to redeem gift cards.

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