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Online Sales Near $50B in Q4

Ten shopping days surpass $1B mark.

Shoppers were busy buying on their computers, smartphones and tablets during the last quarter of 2011, pushing online sales up to $49.7 billion.

That was a 14-percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, when sales reached $43.4 billion, researcher comScore reports. Online sales for the entire year of 2011 increased 13 percent compared to 2010.

Multiple big-spending days contributed to the double-digit increase. During the fourth quarter, 10 days saw online sales surpass $1 billion. Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, led the way with $1.25 billion in sales. Dec. 5 followed with $1.178 billion. Dec. 12, which saw $1.13 billion in sales, was the third-busiest day for online sales, comScore notes.

The increase during the fourth quarter was the ninth consecutive gain for online merchants, comScore adds, reporting that shoppers were most interested in digital content and subscriptions, jewelry and watches, consumer electronics, toys and hobbies, and computer software.

Not surprisingly, 52 percent of online sales in the quarter included free shipping, an all-time high, according to comScore.

The report adds that shoppers increasingly used tablets and smartphones to check prices, look up product features and make purchases during the fourth quarter.

“Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for e-commerce and, unless those conditions change, we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012 and perhaps even an acceleration of the current growth trend,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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