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Christmas Day-Sales Spike of Digital Content Helps Set Holiday Cyber-Spending Record

laptop with person entering credit card information Credit: Photo by Kingvald for Dreamstime.com

Retail ecommerce spending for the 2011 holiday season has reached a record $35 billion, a new survey shg was done online? Did it ows. What helped push sales to record levels this year was a dramatic increase in Christmas Day purchases of digital content and subscriptions.

For the first 56 days of the November-December 2011 holiday season, online sales were $36.3 billion, a 15-percent increase over the corresponding days last year, according to the most-recent data from comScore, which measures all things digital. The most-recent week (ending Dec. 25) witnessed $2.8 billion in spending, an increase of 16 percent over the corresponding week in 2011.

One of the interesting ecommerce phenomena occurring over the past several years is the dramatic increase in Christmas Day purchases of digital content and subscriptions, a retail category that includes digital downloads of music, TV, movies, e-books and apps. Not surprisingly, as many consumers get new smartphones, tablets, e-readers and digital-content gift certificates for Christmas, they spend Christmas Day loading up their devices with new content.

On an average day during the 2011 holiday season-to-date (Nov. 1 – Dec. 26), digital content and subscriptions accounted for 2.8 percent of retail ecommerce sales, but on Christmas Day the category accounted for more than 20 percent of sales. Sales for this category should remain elevated throughout the entire week following Christmas, comScore said.

"Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season, and we have now reached a record $35 billion in U.S. online sales for the season-to-date," said comScore's chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion-dollar spending days this year."