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Holiday E-Commerce Spending Up 23%, comScore Finds

Non-travel e-commerce spending in the first 39 days of the holiday season through Dec. 9 totaled $12.75 billion, up 23 percent from the $10.38 billion estimated for the year-ago period, according to comScore Networks.

The Chicago-based market researcher expects consumer spending on non-travel e-commerce to cross $19 billion for November and December, achieving 24 percent growth.

ComScore’s estimate is fairly close to Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research’s forecast of $18 billion in e-commerce spending for the 2005 holidays.

A hot item this holiday season is the Apple iPod music player. About 6.6 million iPod-related searches were conducted in November, according to a comScore tracking of U.S. home, work and university online users.

The keywords “Xbox 360” attracted 5 million searches, “Harry Potter” 4.8 million, “Star Wars” 2.5 million, “Barbie” 2.1 million and “PlayStation” 1.9 million. A milestone: Searches for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console more than tripled those for Sony’s PlayStation.

“It’s also clear that search has become a mainstream way for consumers to research products, irrespective of whether their ultimate purchase will occur online or at a retail store,” comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Nielsen//NetRatings’s Holiday eShopping Index recorded a 33 percent year-over-year jump in the number of online shopping trips for the week ending Dec. 4, or the sixth week of the holiday shopping season. The New York market researcher’s index registered 462.5 million shopping sessions in the week ending Dec. 4 versus 348.3 million in the year-ago period.

Not surprisingly, books, music and video was the fastest-growing shopping category, rising 238 percent from the year-ago period. Apparel-related shopping trips online, at No. 2, rose 38 percent. Toys/video games, retail and consumer electronics were the three next-fastest-growing categories, up 28 percent each.

“Retail sites across all product categories have experienced growth over last year, and traffic continues to escalate as the holidays get closer,” Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, said in a statement. “The significant increase in the visits to the books/music/video category is being driven by the vast selection of titles released during the holidays.”

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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