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Online holiday spending hit all-time high last week

Research firm ComScore says consumers spent $6.3 billion last week, jumping 14 percent over the same period last year.

Even though the economy is still having trouble kicking in to high gear, consumers are spending boatloads of cash on gifts this holiday season.

Between November 1 and December 18, U.S. online shoppers have spent a whopping $32 billion, jumping 15 percent compared with the same period last year, when sales hit $27.8 billion, research firm ComScore reported today. Last week's sales performance was most impressive, hitting $6.3 billion during the seven-day period ended December 18 and setting a new all-time spending record for a single week. Last year, online shoppers in the U.S. spent $5.5 billion during the same period.

Four days last week, sales soared past $1 billion, ComScore says, but none of them were able to match this year's Cyber Monday, which generated sales of $1.3 billion in the 24-hour period.

"The final big week of online holiday shopping remained strong throughout, with four days surpassing $1 billion in sales and the second heaviest online shopping weekend on record," ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said today in a statement.

Last week's online success will likely give way to a bump in brick-and-mortar shopping this week as online shoppers run out of time to order products and get them delivered before Christmas Eve. However, Fulgoni did say that there will still be some folks that take advantage of overnight shipping offers and buy products online.

"In total, we will see another $5 [billion] or $6 billion in e-commerce spending over the remainder of December to finish off what has clearly been an outstanding season for online retailers," Fulgoni said.

Last month, ComScore estimated that online shoppers would spend $37.6 billion this holiday-shopping season, jumping 15 percent compared with the $32.6 billion spent last year.

A look at how 2011 holiday spending is outpacing prior years.
A look at how 2011 holiday spending is outpacing prior years. ComScore