Online holiday sales up 25 percent

Non-travel spending during the first 55 days of the holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 25) totaled $18.11 billion, a 25 percent increase over the same period in 2004, according to comScore Networks. Online sales for the final two weeks prior to Christmas rose 31 percent over the previous year.

“We’re seeing another terrific holiday season for online spending,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore Networks chairman.

Fulgoni credited the sales increase, one percent over comScore initial forecast, to aggressive promotions early in the season, steep price discounting toward the end of the season, and increased consumer confidence in expedited shipping. ComScore says that sales will exceed $19 billion for the season.

Online sales of gift certificates were up 19 percent over the previous year, according to the Reston, Va., company’s, “2005 Online Shopping Update.”

The top three product categories were computer hardware which took in $4.1 billion in sales over the previous year, apparel and accessories ($3 billion), and consumer electronics ($1.3 billion). Apparel and accessories purchases grew by 37 percent, the second fastest growing category for the season.