It's official. Online retail sales rose 12 percent to a record $32.6 billion during the two-month holiday season, reports comScore, a Reston, Va., market research firm. That's two to three times the sales gain sales tracking research firms expect to be reported later this week for general merchandise sold in brick and mortar stores Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. For the first time both the biggest day and the only $1 billion day of the year online was Nov. 29, the Monday after Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Known in the trade as Cyber Monday, online sales then were propelled by earlier-than-usual promotional discounting. Daily online sales, however, topped $900 million eight times in December as late as Dec. 17, the deadline for most free shipping offers. Overall, more than half of holiday transactions were free shipping deals. Online sales activity remained less than 10 percent of total holiday sales.
Holiday season online retail sales up 12 percent — better than expected
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