Online retail spending reached $49.7 billion for Q4, marking a 14% from this time last year, according to comScore, Inc. This increase represents the ninth successive quarter of positive year-over-year growth, as well as the fifth of double-digit growth rate.
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For the entire 2011 year, U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached a record $161.5 billion, marking a 13-percent increase from 2010.
Other highlights from Q4 2011 include:
- The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Jewelry & Watches, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, and Computer Software. Each category grew at least 18 percent vs. year ago.
- Ten individual days in Q4 surpassed $1 billion in online spending, led by Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) at $1.251 billion. Monday, Dec. 5 ranked second at $1.178 billion, followed by Green Monday (Dec. 12) at $1.133 billion.
- 52 percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, representing an all-time high. The previous high was Q4 2010 at 49 percent.
- Smartphones and tablets played a growing role in online shopping, with consumers increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in a retail store.