Last minute shopping dementia in the week preceding Christmas broke all ecommerce records and soared well beyond even the most optimistic predictions of analysts.

Frenzied online shoppers drove sales up 57% on the same week last year, while a poll of etailers revealed that sales for the holiday period overall increased by 19% at the lower end of the scale to 29% at the upper.

comScore Networks, which tracks consumer behavior and attitudes online, reports that in the period December 13 through 19, cybershoppers spent 57% more than the same week in 2003, while for December 20-26, they spent 53% more.

In contrast, comScore estimates that traditional retailers expect tiny overall holiday sales increases of between 3% and 5%. However, with all figures yet to be gathered and collated, most observers believe bricks-and-mortar retail sales will comfortably exceed those levels.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff