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Online retail spending is expected to top $100 billion this year for the first time, reflecting the Web's emergence as a force behind retail sales growth, a market research firm said Thursday.
Total online spending among consumers in 2006 is expected to reach $170 billion, ComScore Networks said. That amount includes spending on travel, and non-travel, or retail, sales.
"The Web continues flexing its muscle as one of the important drivers of retail sales growth," Gian Fulgoni, chairman of ComScore Networks, said in a statement.
In the third quarter, online retail spending increased 23 percent to $23.1 billion from $18.8 billion the same period last year. Travel spending was up 9 percent to $18.2 billion from $16.8 billion a year ago. Overall spending was up 16 percent to $41.3 billion.
In the retail sector, consumer electronics had the highest growth rate at 43 percent, followed by apparel and accessories, 32 percent; sports and fitness, 29 percent; and computer software, excluding games, 27 percent, ComScore said.