Online Holiday Spending Reaches $36.4 Billion: Report

There were six days in the 2010 season that surpassed $1 billion in sales, according to the MasterCard Advisors' report.

MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales, provided summary results for e-commerce sales over the full 2010 holiday shopping season. During the period Oct. 31 to Dec. 24, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $36.4 billion, a 15.4 percent year-on-year increase over the 2009 holiday season.

In terms of share, online apparel sales during the holiday season accounted for 18.8 percent of total sales in that category, compared to 16.9 percent in 2009. As for some of the other sub-sectors, online electronics, not surprisingly, also recorded significant gains, while jewelry, although still in positive territory, lagged behind.

"Today, e-commerce accounts for a much larger share of overall retail sales compared to a few years ago. And during this holiday season, it registered double digit growth for six out of seven weeks," noted Michael McNamara, vice president for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. "In terms of sub-categories, apparel was the clear leader, helping increase the channel's overall lift.

In terms of highlights, there were six days in the 2010 season that surpassed $1 billion in sales compared with three days in 2009. Top days included Tuesday, Nov. 30, which registered $1.16 billion in sales, and Wednesday, Dec. 1, registering $1.13 billion. The Monday after Thanksgiving generated $999.3 million in sales, a 25.3 percent increase compared to the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2009.

Computer maker Apple and other OEMs were a major factor in this holiday season's electronics sales boost, according to research firm comScore. According to the company's recent holiday sales report, consumer electronics enjoyed a year-over-year growth of 22 percent for the period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 17. Computer software, excluding PC games, rose 16 percent. Over the course of those 47 days, consumers spent $27.47 billion online, a 12 percent increase from 2009. Moreover, the week ending Dec. 17 saw four days surpassing $900 million in sales.

A macroeconomic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide.