U.S. Internet sales rose 15.4% to $36.4 billion between October 31st and December 23rd according to MasterCard Spending Plus which is a unit of MasterCard Advisors that tracks sales at 72,000 retailers. Sales over the internet now account for about 10% of all retail sales, excluding purchases of automobiles and gas. What Web shoppers bought this year, and where, reflect some big changes as well. The jump in clothing sales is surprising because traditionally consumers always wanted to touch and try on their cloths. Not any more. We’ll take that chance that it will look great after we purchase the garments.
Online holiday shopping tapers off by the third week of December, after retailers no longer guarantee that packages shipped by the cheapest methods will arrive by Christmas. But last minute Web shopping is becoming more popular. The number of people who shopped on line December 23rd still increased this year by about 25% from last years activity according to Coremetrics, a unit of IBM Corp. that tracks sales at 500 retailers. People spent more money too. The average late-season order climbed more than 15% to about $210 from $180 with the biggest gains in department and jewelry-store sales.