Online holiday shopping sales rise despite economy

ComScore reports online holiday spending at nearly $20 billion so far, up 3% over 2008

Despite high unemployment and a sluggish economy, online holiday shopping is seeing a bit of a boost so far this year.

Online spending during the first 41 days of November-December holiday season is up by about 3% this year, according to comScore, Inc., an online tracking firm. So far this year, online holiday shoppers have spent $19.9 billion, comScore noted.

And last week, when shoppers spent $800 million on two separate days, overall online spending increased by 4% over the same week in 2008. Thursday, Dec. 10, topped the week with spending of more than $853 million, according to comScore.

"Although this most recent week of holiday shopping did not produce the first $900 million spending day, we saw above average growth rates including a strong end to the week," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement.

"Monday, December 14 -- otherwise known as Green Monday -- is likely to produce our heaviest online spending total for the season and represents our best opportunity to finally surpass that elusive $900 million spending threshold. The early part of this upcoming week should bring us the heaviest online spending days of the season before consumers refocus their attention on brick-and-mortar retail locations to finish up their holiday shopping," he added.

This year's online spending increase takes on new meaning in light of another comScore report released today that shows that more than two-thirds of consumers have cut use of credit cards due to recent changes to the terms and conditions.

The comScore survey found that half of the consumers surveyed have seen credit card interest rates increased, spending limits reduced or new fees instituted. These changes were cited by 55% of consumers who said they have decided to use credit cards for fewer transactions and 27% who said they no longer use their cards.

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