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12/28/2009
04:46 PM
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Online Shopping Breaks Records

Coupons and other incentives helped push online retail to record-breaking levels over the holiday shopping season, said comScore.

Even with the country in a recession, online sales continued to be a bright spot for retailers, as categories across the board enjoyed record-breaking results.

An indication that mobile phones had achieved maturity for making online purchases was reported by eBay, which said that 1.5 million sales were recorded by cell phone users in recent weeks. And, some of the purchases were very big: a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette sold for $75,000 and a boat was purchased for $19,000.

ComScore, which tracks online activity, said Monday that coupons, price cuts, free shipping, and special discounts helped push online sales to record-breaking levels. ComScore was still compiling figures for recent days, but the November figures it released showed signs of the boom.

"November marks the official start of the holiday shopping season as millions of Americans search for gifts and deals both online and in stores," said Jack Flanagan, executive VP of comScore Media Metrix, in a statement. "With nearly 4 out of 5 Americans online visiting a retail site during November, the Internet clearly represents an increasingly important channel for retailers during the holiday season and beyond."

The online metric firm said that toys, consumer electronics, and department stores each recorded online sales growth of more than 30%. ToysRUs sites led the toys category with an 82% jump in sales, representing 14.8 million visitors. Consumer electronics sites grew 32% month-over-month to nearly 53 million visitors in November.

BestBuy.com had nearly 25 million visitors -- up 139% .

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