Online U.S. sales got a big boost in the final full week of the holiday shopping season, raising the season-to-date growth rate over last year to 19%, a Web metrics firm said.
From Nov. 1 to Dec. 18, online shoppers spent nearly $25 billion, which is more than the total spend for the 2006 season, ComScore reported Thursday. The last two days of the 48-day period were especially strong.
On Monday and Tuesday, people spent $700 million and $670 million, respectively, ComScore said. Compared with sales on Dec. 17 and 18 a year ago, the numbers amounted to an increase of 33% and 25%, respectively.
Spending on Monday and Tuesday pushed the season-to-date growth rate to slightly above 19%, ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. "While it is now safe to say that the heaviest online spending days of the season are behind us, we believe we may continue to see strong growth rates during the remainder of the season."
Sales are expected to remain strong due to late-season shipping deals being offered by some retailers, as well as the ability of consumers to buy online and pickup the merchandise at stores, Fulgoni said. In addition, many people delay shopping in an effort to take advantage of late-season discounts.
ComScore defines the holiday shopping season as the full months of November and December. The firm expects online holiday sales to reach $29.5 billion -- 20% more than last year. From January to October, Americans spent $93.6 billion in online stores -- a 21% increase over a year ago.
Despite the predicted growth, online holiday spending this year is expected to grow at a slower rate than last year, when shoppers spent 26% more than in 2005, according to ComScore.