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Holiday e-shopping sets record

Last modified: December 29, 2003, 3:41 PM PST
By Karen Southwick
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
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Holiday online spending, excluding travel, reached a record $15.8 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 19, according to the most recent "eSpending" survey by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings, released Monday.

That is up 37 percent from the same period last year and already surpasses total 2002 online spending of $13 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25.

"This has definitely been a strong online-shopping season," said Abha Bhagat, senior analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings.

Bhagat attributed the impressive showing to consumers starting their online shopping earlier and spending more online, taking advantage of discounts and promotions by e-tailers.

Online shopping peaked the second week in December, as the holiday shipping season came to an end. Consumers spent $2.8 billion online for the week of Dec. 13 through the 19th, down slightly from the $2.95 billion spent online the previous week.

The most popular categories this season were apparel, $3.1 billion spent through Dec. 19, up 40 percent over 2002; toys and video games, $1.9 billion spent, up 21 percent; videos and DVDs, $1.4 billion spent, up 58 percent; books, $1.4 billion spent, up 39 percent; and music, $790 million spent, up 20 percent.

Bhagat said those are the same as last year's most popular categories.

The eSpending reports are based on weekly national surveys



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