Online consumer spending increases this holiday season

After big postings during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, consumers continued to spend heavily into the following weeks.

This includes using their debit and credit cards for online purchases, as consumers have spent more than $800 million on four separate days in the past month.

This holiday season more than $17.5 billion has been spent online, marking an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year, according to comScore. In addition, one of the biggest incentives behind the recent boom has been an increase in free shipping.

“Without a doubt, free shipping has become a critical driver of e-commerce purchasing, with the majority of consumers indicating that they will abandon their shopping carts if they get to check-out and find that free shipping is not included,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

More than 50 percent of online shoppers received free delivery on purchases during the last three weeks, the report said. Most often this benefit was associated with promotions by retailers and credit card companies, which have been teaming up to offer consumers benefits during the holidays.

The recent run of promotions is scheduled to continue through the winter. This means consumers may be able to stretch their budget and avoid added credit card debt by taking advantage of these offers.