Online Retail E-Commerce Climbs To $41.9 Billion in Q3

Shopaholics and bargain hunters have it easy these days. They can click, instead of clip, coupons to use online, avoid pushy crowds and idiot drivers, and even buy goods in their underwear, if they so desire (just be sure to pull the shades down, folks). Sure, you skip out on the instant gratification of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store by hiding behind a computer, and you can't try on virtual clothes before buying them online, but it didn't stop online shoppers from spending a whopping $41.9 billion ahead of the holiday shopping season.

That figure represents Q3 e-commerce spending in 2012, according to comScore. That's up 15 percent compared to a year ago, and marks the twelfth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth, along with the eight consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

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"The Q3 growth rate of 15 percent growth remained in line with the prior quarter and provided confirmation of the strength in the e-commerce sector, despite a few negative headwinds in the macroeconomic environment during the quarter," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Such performance offers some optimism as we approach the holiday season, especially given recent improvements in consumer sentiment. With the housing market beginning to show signs of recovery in addition to increasing – if still underwhelming – job growth, there appears to be strong enough footing to support a very healthy online holiday shopping season."

In case you're wondering, stars of the online shopping scene include digital content and subscriptions, electronic devices, event tickets, apparel and accessories, and computer software. Each of those categories grew by 16 percent or more compared to a year ago, comScore says.