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Online holiday spending rings up $21 billion so far

Spending online in the U.S. so far is up around 14 percent compared with the same period last year.


Holiday cybershoppers in the United States have opened up their wallets to the tune of $21.4 billion so far, a 14 percent gain over last year, according to ComScore.

Measuring from November 1 through December 2 -- the first 32 days of the 2012 holiday-shopping season -- ComScore found that more people are buying online. Stats showed a 9 percent rise in the number of buyers to 128.7 million.

People are also freer with their hard-earned dollars. The average online consumer has so far spent $159.90, a gain of 5 percent from last year. Specifically, the amount spent per transaction is up only 1 percent, but the number of online transactions per person has risen by 4 percent.

Cyber Monday has earned the record as the biggest one-day money maker so far, tallying a record $1.46 billion in online purchases. Consumers did take a break from spending after that Monday with online sales weakening last week and over this past weekend.

"And some of the softening is a natural post-Cyber Monday lull that we often experience, an effect that may be somewhat more pronounced this year given the additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas," ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. "However, as the urgency to finish one's holiday shopping increases, we expect to see growth rates pick up again in the next couple of weeks before Christmas."

ComScore's forecast calls for total online spending to reach $43.4 billion this holiday-shopping season. If it pans out, that would be a 17 percent gain over last year.