Santa was good to online retailers this year, according to two recent studies.
Boosted by last-minute shopping, holiday e-commerce sales were up well over 20% compared with the same period last year, according to reports released Thursday by comScore Networks and
. Online shoppers took advantage of local pick-up options, gift card offers and flower deliveries to purchase gifts late into last week, according to comScore.
"The late surge in consumer spending that was widely observed at offline retail outlets came to benefit online retailers in an unprecedented way," said Dan Hess, senior vice president at comScore.
From Dec. 20 to Dec. 25, online shoppers spent $1.5 billion at North American e-commerce sites, VeriSign reported. ComScore put the total for all of last week at $1.22 billion spent at North American-based online stores, but said that tally was up a whopping 53% from the same week last year.
All told, in the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 26, North American-based online stores rang up $14.8 billion in sales, up 29% from the same period last year, according to comScore. VeriSign estimated that sales tallied by North American-based online merchants from Thanksgiving to Dec. 27 rose 24% this year to $8.8 billion.
(comScore tracks actual purchases made by some 2 million consumers at online stores. Its data exclude sales of travel services, purchases made at auction and large corporate purchases. Some 35% of online purchases in North America pass through VeriSign's payment processing systems. The company extrapolates its sales estimates from those transactions, which largely exclude auction purchases, but include travel sales.)
Despite the bullish news, the reports seemed to have little effect on most e-commerce stocks, which were mired in a low-volume session. In recent trading, shares of e-commerce leaders
were up less than 1%, as were those of smaller rival
( ECST). Shares of other e-commerce players, such as
were all off less than 1%.