Online Shopping in December Looks Jolly

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Online shopping surged 53 percent during the second week of December, snowing on last year's 40 percent record, according to yesterday's Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index.

One reason for the spike in purchases is the move online of established bricks-and-mortar retailers. While the presence of pure-play e-tailers has grown 77 percent, bricks-and-mortar sites have surged 103 percent since the beginning of this year's holiday season.

Even though most of the bricks-and-mortar sites are late to the e-commerce game, many are tapping into their large, established customer bases to snag a piece of the online action, according to Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings.

Kaldor also said online shopping got off to a slow start this year but has recovered with "strong and consistent growth." This year's holiday shopping has consistently topped last year's results, and Kaldor predicts there will be one more week of favorable growth to come.

The Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index measured home and work Web shopping in eight categories: apparel, which saw a 130 percent increase over the week ending Oct. 29; books/music/video, which saw a 49 percent increase; consumer electronics, 111 percent; specialty gifts, 192 percent; toys and games, 130 percent; value-oriented sites, 51 percent; virtual department stores, 104 percent; and computer hardware, which grabbed an 8 percent share compared with the previous week's 10 percent share.

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