Web Shoppers Spend $2.95 Billion, Study Says

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Online shoppers spent $2.95 billion during the second week of December, up 48 percent from last year, according to a study from Goldman Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings.


Excluding travel, consumers nationwide spent an estimated $13 billion this holiday season through the second week of December. This represented an increase of 46 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the weekly eSpending report that surveyed 7,178 online users.


Popular e-commerce categories in the Nov. 1-Dec. 12 period were apparel, videos and DVDs, consumer electronics, toys and video gaming software and hardware as well as books.


Online shoppers spent $2.5 billion on apparel during the period, up 35 percent from a year ago. This category accounted for $900 million in e-commerce sales during the last two weeks.


Toys and video games were next, growing to $1.6 billion in the six weeks since Nov. 1 and generating an increase of 27 percent from a year ago.


Online consumers spent $1.4 billion on consumer electronics, up 12 percent from the same period last year.


Books generated $1 billion in sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 12, an increase of 33 percent from the same period in 2002.


Through the six weeks ending Dec. 12, surveyed shoppers spent 20.5 percent of their 2003 budget via the Internet, up from 16 percent last year.


Stores have seen a commensurate drop in consumer spending.


Shoppers surveyed expect to spend 72.9 percent of their budget this year at stores, down from 76.8 percent in 2002. They will spend 6.7 percent via catalogs, roughly the same as last year.


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