US shoppers pour $100b on online purchases

Americans spent over $100 billion shopping on the Internet in 2006, and growth in e-commerce is likely to extend its strong pace in the coming years, analysts, quoted by an AFP report, said.

The AFP report quoted a study by research firm comScore Networks which said online retail spending excluding travel reached $102.1 billion last year, a 24% increase over 2005.

A large chunk of that came in the holiday season of November and December, with $24.6 billion dollars, up 26% versus last year, the AFP report also said.

Investment firm Cowen and Co. calculated the 2006 sales figure at $108 billion and sees this growing to 225 billion by 2011, the AFP report added.

'We estimate that US e-commerce sales will grow 20 % in 2007, driven by increasing adoption of broadband, lower prices in online channels, and the increased convenience of online shopping,' the Cowen report said.

This would mean e-commerce would account for 4.7% of total US retail sales in five years, up from 2.7% at the end of 2006, it said.

The report further said one reason for the upsurge in holiday spending was confidence by consumers in rapid delivery, allowing retailers to extend the season into mid and even late December.