Holiday season sales via the internet leapt 15% year-on-year to $13.8 billion, according to a report published jointly on Monday by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings.

Covering an eight week period November through December, the study reveals a far higher level of satisfaction with customer service than in previous years, eliciting a positive response from 86% of the (unquantified) sample. Twenty-four percent reported a better experience than twelve months back.

Observed Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive: “Unlike traditional retailers who have the luxury of time and are able to sell to shoppers until the very last minute, e-commerce sites must move their products within a much shorter shopping season. The steady stream of special sales and free shipping offers during the peak online shopping weeks attracted consumers and helped e-tailers achieve higher revenue growth.”

Over $9 billion – 65% of the season's aggregated online spend – gushed into the last two weeks of November and the first two of December. The near-$2.6 billion sales peak came in the first week in December when one in five of all web-users made a purchase online.

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