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Posted December 17, 2001 By Beth Cox     Feedback

The latest holiday e-spending figures show online consumers parted with $2.6B the first week in December, and customer satisfaction for Web purchases is up sharply.

Finally gearing up for the holidays, American consumers spent an estimated $2.6 billion online during the first week of December, jumping 91 percent from the $1.4 billion spent during an average week in November, according to new study results.

The study also shows that 45 percent of Americans are "very satisfied" with their online holiday shopping experience, with 25 percent reporting that they are more satisfied this year than they were in 2000. Another 14 percent reported being "somewhat satisfied."

The figures from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings show that on average, Americans spent $91 online during the week ending Dec. 7, an increase of $14 from the week prior. Twenty percent of those surveyed made an online purchase this past week, compared to 18 percent the previous week

"The surge in online buying this past week is a critical first sign that online spending in December will increase faster than November's modest 10 percent annual growth," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. "For a successful December, consumers will need to maintain these aggressive spending levels for the next two weeks."

And on the customer satisfaction front, "The majority of shoppers are finding their online shopping experience to be quite satisfactory, with few reports of problems or failures," said Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive. "... This is another sign that online shopping will continue to grow as a desirable alternative to going to the malls."

Thirty-nine percent of online shoppers reported that they are in the middle of completing their online holiday shopping, with 14 percent having started during the first week of December. Only 15 percent have yet to begin their online holiday shopping, while the remaining 46 percent have finished for the season.

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