Online holiday spending rose 5 percent to $27 billion during the holiday season, according to market researcher comScore.
Sales were measured from Nov. 1 to Christmas Eve. Adjusted for the extra day of shopping this year compared to last year, sales were up 3.5 percent. From Black Friday through Christmas Eve, sales were up 3.5 percent, with strength in categories such as consumer electronics, jewelry and watches.
Earlier indicators were showing that the season was shaping up to be better than expected. Retail store sales were also relatively strong, despite a big snowstorm that hit the East Coast just before the holidays. The snowstorm actually benefited online sales. The final shopping weekend for online sales saw a 13 percent growth over the previous year.
The market research also showed that larger electronic retailers like Best Buy and Walmart did better than smaller online sellers. Sales were strong thanks to promotions and offers of free shipping. Amazon, for instance, offered free last-minute shipping for buyers of its Kindle e-book reader. A year ago, online sales fell 3 percent.