<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>ROCHESTER, N.Y. and NEW YORK– January 3, 2005– The latest holiday eSpending Report from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive®, and Nielsen//NetRatings revealed that online shoppers in the U.S. spent $23.2 billion during the 2004 holiday season, excluding travel. This reflects a 25 percent increase from the $18.5 billion spent online during the same timeframe in 2003.

According to the 2004 eSpending report, based on weekly surveys of more than 1,000 respondents, online consumers spent the most on apparel/clothing, totaling $3.8 billion, or 16 percent of total online revenue, during the 2004 holiday season (see Table 1). The toys/video games category was second with $2.5 billion, or 11 percent of online revenue, while the consumer electronics category rounded out the top three with $2.3 billion, or 10 percent of total online revenue.

Categories generating the highest year-over-year growth in holiday dollars included jewelry, flowers and computer hardware/peripherals. Jewelry jumped 113 percent to $1.9 billion during the 2004 holiday season compared to the $888 million spent in 2003 (see Table 2). Floral retailers experienced a 59 percent surge in online revenue to $530 million while computer hardware/peripherals increased 30 percent over last season, generating $2.1 billion in online revenue this year.