ComScore tallies up holiday 2011 spending

RESTON, Va. — The November-December 2011 holiday season marked a new record in retail e-commerce spending, ComScore reported.

The season realized an overall gain of 15% versus last year, totaling $37.2 billion. This record was achieved with help from ten individual shopping days that surpassed $1 billion in spending, led by Cyber Monday — which ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year — at $1.25 billion.

"With brick-and-mortar holiday retail estimated to have grown about 4% this year, it's clear that e-commerce continues to gain market share from traditional retail due to the attractiveness of the Internet's convenience and lower prices," ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. "Consumers were especially attracted to the deals and discounts available through digital channels — particularly free shipping, which occurred on well over half of transactions this season. Despite their continuing price sensitivity, consumers felt a bit more comfortable opening up their wallets this year, although this appears to have occurred as a result of a decline in the savings rate. Nonetheless, it's clear that, at least on the basis of top line growth, this was a Merry Christmas for many online retailers. What will remain unknown until retailers report their financial year end results is whether the aggressive pricing and free shipping offers came at the cost of lower margins."

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