Online spending up 30 percent for the holidays

Holiday spending online, from Oct. 29 through Dec. 23, rose 30 percent from the same period in 2004, according to a report by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen/NetRatings, and Harris Interactive. Online shoppers spent the most on clothing, $5.3 billion, up 42% from the previous year.

Consumer electronics spending online soared to $4.8 billion, 109 percent increase from the previous year, according to the fifth annual Holiday eSpending Report. Books, toys, and video games were also among the top categories. Book sales jumped 66 percent, but sales of toys and video games fell 9 percent from the previous year. Jewelry wasn’t tracked in the report.

“Apparel remains one of the more dominant product categories during the holiday season, mirroring offline holiday retail behavior,” said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “Computer hardware and consumer electronics had a stellar season with the price reductions for laptops, plasma TVs, color printers as well as high demand for iPods, digital cameras, and media accessories. The 2005 holiday season was a gadget year for consumers of all ages, and consumers continued to show their love for free shipping.”

Online consumers continued to shop later in the holiday season as their trust in on-time delivery grew, according to the report.