online shoppingThe holiday online shopping season is going pretty good, all things considered. Holiday online spending rose 4 percent to $15.3 billion from $14.8 billion a year ago, according to market researcher comScore.

Those results are from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5, counting the first 34 days of the shopping season. In the most recent week, three individual days topped $800 million in spending, including the record $887 million (up 5 percent from a year ago) amount for Cyber Monday on Nov. 30. The following Tuesday saw $886 million in sales, while Thursday Dec. 3 hit $808 million.

The hot categories are consumer electronic and computer hardware, both up double-digits this year. The hot devices are eBook readers, navigation devices, digital cameras, flat-panel TVs and laptops.

“We have now passed the halfway point of the season with the 4 percent growth in online spending to date slightly exceeding comScore’s forecast of an overall 3 percent growth rate for the entire season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “It will be interesting to see if the encouraging growth continues as we head into the busiest days of the season. Nonetheless, I do expect that we will see the industry’s first $900 million online spending day during this next critical week of the season.”

Larger online retailers are gaining market share from mid-sized and smaller online retailers. That’s because they’re likely using their scale to offer lower prices and spend more on marketing as the smaller retailers cut back, comScore said. The top 25 online retailers have grown sales 13 percent comscore salesthrough November, while smaller retailers showed a year-over-year decline of 10 percent. The largest retailers accounted for 64 percent of all dollars spent in the month, up 6 percentage points from a year ago. The beneficiaries include Amazon and Walmart.

Free shipping transactions accounted for 50 percent of all online sales in the week ended Nov. 22, up 11 percentage points from the same period a year ago. Average order values for free shipping orders is up 15 percent compared to those without free shipping. That’s likely due to the use of minimum spending thresholds for free shipping.

[photo credit: Flickr, Wheatfields]