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Study: November online sales up 19 percent

The toys-and-video-game category grew the most, the report said: by 43 percent compared with last year.

U.S. consumers spent $8.8 billion at online stores during November, up 19 percent compared with the same period last year, according to a report released Monday.

The Holiday eSpending report, prepared by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings, excludes travel bookings. The findings are comparable to those of a study released by ComScore networks last week.

According to the eSpending report, apparel topped the shopping list at $1.48 billion, followed by toys and video games, which together generated $1 billion in sales. The report also said shoppers spent $882 million on videos and DVDs, $621 million on books and $481 million on music.

The report's findings are based on interviews with adult consumers, according to a statement; more than 1,000 people were interviewed weekly.

"The growth in 2004 holiday revenue suggests that consumers are shifting more dollars to the Internet this season," Heather Dougherty, a senior retail analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings, said in a statement.

The toys-and-video-game category grew the most--43 percent compared with last year, the report said. Spending on videos and DVDs increased 39 percent, and spending on music jumped 32 percent, the report said.

Consumers offered several explanations for why online shopping appeals to them. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents said e-tailers offered lower prices, and another 34 percent were attracted by the variety of products. One-third of consumers participating in the survey said they stayed away from stores because of crowds.

In addition, 17 percent of consumers said they had completed all of their holiday shopping by the end of the month.