VeriSign said total Valentine's Day online purchases reached $3.9 billion--a 30 percent increase over the holiday's previous-year sales.
"The growth in online sales for jewelry is a key indicator of increased consumer confidence in spending more money online," said Trevor Healy, VeriSign's vice president of payment services, in a statement.
"With diamonds showing the highest increase in online revenue during the Valentine's Day shopping season, we not only see that consumers are comfortable making big-ticket purchases online, but also buying sentimental and significant items through secured e-commerce sites," said Healy. "This proves that online shopping has progressed past basic items, such as books and CDs, thus opening new sales opportunities for merchants from all categories."
VeriSign, which operates intelligent infrastructure services for the Web, said it monitored online purchases from February 1 through 14. VeriSign Payment Services processes more than 37 percent of North American e-commerce, the company said.
VeriSign said categories across-the-board increased during the Valentine's Day period this year over the previous year: candy purchases were up 25 percent, flowers were up 16 percent, and greeting-card purchases soared 50 percent.
But the 130 percent increase in diamond purchases paced the entire category. "In the brick-and-mortar world, jewelry has always been a high-performing category around Valentine's Day," said Adam Graham, Diamonds.com spokesman, in a statement. "Translating that success to the virtual world proved difficult given consumer hesitation to purchase expensive and, in many cases, symbolic pieces of jewelry through e-commerce sites."