Report: Consumers Spent $13.7B in Holiday 2002

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Consumers spent an estimated $13.7 billion from Nov. 2 and December 31, up 24 percent from the same period in 2001, according to a study released yesterday by Nielsen//NetRatings, Harris Interactive and Goldman, Sachs Group Inc.

The Nielsen//NetRatings numbers also revealed a peculiar trend not seen in previous holiday seasons.

"There appeared to be a strong blip, a bump in online shopping before Thanksgiving, where people really did a bunch of shopping earlier and there was a little bit of a lull in early December and then strong shopping again right before Christmas," said Lori Iventosch-James, Los Gatos, CA-based director of e-commerce at Harris Interactive.

The growth in online retail this holiday season was attributed to a plethora of sales and shipping promotions in early November. Also, people shopped early for Hannukah, which almost coincided with Thanksgiving.

Top categories shopped for include books, music, video and DVDs; apparel and clothing; travel; consumer electronics; and toys and video games.

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