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Online sales grew 12 percent to $32.6 billion during 2010 holidays, report says…

Retail e-commerce spending for the entire November – December 2010 holiday season reached $32.6 billion, marking a 12 percent increase versus last year and an all-time record for the season, according to online research firm comScore.

“The 2010 online holiday shopping season was a memorable one in which we saw spending rebound strongly from the recession of 2008 and 2009, and slightly exceed even our early expectations,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a press release. “We saw spending increase at a rate of 12 percent for the season, outpacing our forecasted 11-percent growth, and set a new holiday season record as total e-commerce spending reached $32.6 billion.” The season will be remembered for an exceptional Cyber Monday, which was the first billion-dollar spending day in history, Fulgoni added. “We cannot forget the impact of free shipping, which was used in more than half of all e-commerce transactions this season, up significantly from last year.”

Most online retailers do not collect state sales taxes, putting them at an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores in this regard. Collectively, states are losing between $21.5 billion and $33.7 billion in uncollected sales tax revenue each year, according to ICSC, which is pressing Congress to pass legislation to even the playing field.

For the first time since comScore began tracking e-commerce activity in 2001, Cyber Monday (Monday, Nov. 29) ranked as the heaviest online spending day of the year at $1.028 billion. It also registers as the first online spending day on record to surpass the $1 billion spending threshold. Eight days in total surpassed $900 million in spending this holiday season, the firm reports.

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