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Online Holiday Sales Reach $53.3 Billion, Top Forecast

The holiday season ended up better than expected for online retailers, who saw a 15 percent increase in sales over the previous year period.

According to a study released Wednesday by digital measurement and analytics firm, comScore, shoppers spent $53.3 billion on retail purchases from desktop computers for the November to December season compared to 2013’s $46.5 billion, slightly above comScore’s originally forecast $53.2 billion.

“The 2014 online holiday shopping season was very strong overall as spending slightly exceeded our fairly optimistic forecast heading into the season,” comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni said.

Cyber Monday was the heaviest spending day of the season for the fifth consecutive year, bringing in more than $2.038 billion in desktop buying. The day after Cyber Monday ranked second in spending at $1.796 billion, followed by Green Monday, which came in as the third biggest shopping day as previously predicted, with $1.615 billion. Black Friday brought in $1.505 billion in sales, up 26 percent over 2013, and Thanksgiving Day saw sales reaching just over $1 billion, a 32 percent jump from the year before.

For the entire Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 period, online spending exceeding $1 billion on 15 different days, compared to 10 days in 2013.

“Despite a shortened holiday calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas and erroneous reports of flagging holiday sales, the American consumer proved resilient and flexed their spending muscle online this year,” Fulgoni said. “Increasing positive consumer sentiment, improving job growth and declining gas prices all combined to create a more favorable spending environment, and consumers responded by opening up their wallets in a way they hadn’t since before the financial crisis. In the end, we saw growth rates in the mid-double digits as the online channel continued to gain meaningful share from brick-and-mortar.”