Consumers continue to buy more online

As the economy continues to improve, many consumers may feel better about their finances and levels of credit card debt, leading them to spend more of their discretionary income, particularly online.

Online credit card spending has increased significantly recently, and March was no exception, according to the latest monthly statistics from MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a consumer purchasing tracker. Overall, e-commerce rose 16.1 percent in March, up even from February’s 13.2 percent jump. This was the fifth consecutive month in which online credit card spending rose by double digits.

Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, says the latest increase can be attributed to higher gas prices, leading more consumers to avoid driving to local retail outlets, but not dampening their desire to spend, the report said. In particular, consumers bought more clothes online, resulting in that category rising 18.7 percent from the previous month.

As the economy continues to improve, consumers may be more open to dealing with credit card debt once again, as they may feel they’re getting a better handle on their finances.