Americans spent $38 billion online during this year's first quarter, a 12-percent increase compared to a year ago, according to research firm comScore.
Buyers shelled out the most cash on video games, consoles and accessories; books and magazines; computers; consumer electronics; and software, comScore reports. Spending in these categories grew by 13 percent compared to 2010's first quarter.
The growth in sales was likely helped by a 7-percent increase in the number of shoppers who headed online during the first quarter of this year. Shoppers were reported to make 9 percent more online purchases than a year ago, though they spent less per transaction, comScore notes.
"Domestic retail e-commerce built on the success of a strong 2010 holiday season with another encouraging quarter here in the first three months of the year," says Gian Fulgoni, comScore's chairman. "Faced with rapidly rising gas prices and stubbornly high unemployment, consumers continued to take advantage of the Internet's lower prices by shifting their spending from offline retail stores.
"While we would expect online buying to dampen slightly if gas prices continue to eat into discretionary spending, it's clear that e-commerce has become a mainstay in consumer behavior, driven by the attraction of both lower prices and convenience," he adds.
The first quarter marked the sixth quarter in a row that online sales grew, and the second quarter in a row that online sales grew by more than 10 percent, according to comScore.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.