Online holiday spending to hit $43.4 billion this year

Shoppers buying gifts online will dole out $43.4 billion this month and next, a 17 percent jump from the 2011 holiday season, ComScore says.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

Online retailers will have good reason to make merry this holiday season.

People shopping via the Internet will spend to the tune of $43.4 billion during November and December, according to a report out today from ComScore.

That figure is a 17 percent gain over last year's online holiday spending, which itself rose 15 percent over 2010's number. It's also way ahead of the retail industry's expectation of just a 4.1 percent rise in overall consumer spending this season.

"The strength leading up to and during the holiday season-to-date, in addition to a maximum 32 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, provide the basis for what we view as a fairly optimistic outlook for the 2012 online holiday shopping season," ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. "This would put an exclamation point on what has already been a strong year for retail e-commerce."

Online spending for the first 18 days of the holiday season has already reached 10.1 billion, a 16 percent jump from the same period last year. The cheeriest day so far for online retailers was November 8, when consumers spent $829 million.

"Recent five-year highs in consumer confidence and early retailer promotions appear to be serving as wind in the sails for the beginning portion of the holiday season, with consumers opening up their wallets early and often," Fulgoni added. "This spending growth also reflects the continuing channel shift to online as consumers increasingly opt for the attractive pricing, convenience, and product selection it offers."