Cyber Spending Hits $16.8 Billion for the Holidays (So Far)

In the first 33 days of the holiday season, e-commerce spending has already hit $16.8 billion, increasing 12 percent over the same period last year.

ComScore said in the past week alone, four days exceeded $800 million in spending, including Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.028 billion.

On Tuesday, spending hit $911 million, making it the third-heaviest day on record, and Wednesday and Thursday came in at $868 million and $850 million, respectively. These figures include both physical merchandise, and relatively new categories, like virtual goods.

The big winners in the past week have been the Amazon.coms of the world and other large retailers, comScore noted.

The top 25 online retailers generated 20 percent more sales for the month of November, compared to last year, and their share increased to nearly 68 percent of the market. Meanwhile, the marketshare of small-to-mid-size retailers shrunk to 32.2 percent.

These increases aren’t expected to last as some retailers became less aggressive with promotions and discounts toward the end of the week, when year-over-year growth rates fell to single digits. “We may see another week of this effect before late season discounts and buying by procrastinators gives the season a final spending surge,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work