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U.S. home Internet users spent an estimated $1.5 billion during the week ended Dec. 10, up from $1.3 billion in the previous week, according to the latest

Goldman Sachs/PC Data

study released today.

The weekly spending figure brings total online holiday spending to $7.2 billion since the week ended Nov. 5, more than double the $3.3 billion consumers spent online during the same period a year ago.

The survey found that year-to-year growth of spending in the second week of December was modest. The $1.5 billion in spending was 24% higher than the comparable week in 1999, during which consumer spending peaked at an estimated $1.25 billion.

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The authors of the study said in 1999, the majority of holiday spending occurred in the first part of December, but this year spending started in early November and has continued. Online spending has topped the $1 billion mark for five consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, the growth of online sales for the survey week decelerated at a sharper rate than Goldman expected. The firm said "we now think online industry holiday sales will be at the lower end of our forecast gain" of 50% to 100% year-over-year.

Apparel continued to lead all online spending categories, with more than $213 million in sales during the week, up from $182 million the previous week. Online electronics sales were also strong. Spending on computer hardware totaled $200 million, while sales of toys reached $138 million.

The survey covered 3,002 home-based Internet users concerning their buying practices during Dec. 4 through Dec. 10.