RESTON, VA: Online retail spending in the US rose 9% year-on-year to reach $32.1 billion (€22.5bn; £19.7bn) in Q3, according to new data from comScore.

The positive results represent the fourth consecutive period of year-on-year growth, following a year of flat or negative spending growth in the sector.

"Retail e-commerce growth [is] a fairly positive indicator for the upcoming holiday season, but we continue to preach caution due to the continuation of high unemployment, which is creating very divergent spending patterns between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

He added: "Until the economy begins adding jobs at a meaningful rate, the lack of spending power among consumers will continue to be a drag on purchasing, with many consumers indicating their intention to cut back on gift buying this holiday season."

Top-performing online product categories were traditional books and magazines, computers, peripherals and PDAs, computer software excluding PC games and consumer electronics.

To comScore, this suggests "a higher willingness of consumers to spend on in-home entertainment".

The US's top 25 online retailers accounted for 70% of dollars spent online, up 5.5% on a year ago, while online "pureplay" retailers accounted for 58%.

Around 42% of the spend was routed via among multichannel retailers, unchanged from the Q3 2009 figure.

Meanwhile, just over 40% of online retail transactions in the US during the quarter included free shipping, which is a marginal decline on last year's figure.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff