E-commerce spending in the US dropped by two per cent in 2009, the first fall since records began, according to internet monitoring firm comScore.
Total online spending in the US reached $209.6bn (£133.4bn) in 2009. Online travel sites took the biggest hit with a five per cent fall, while non-travel e-commerce spending stayed largely flat over the year.
"The US. e-commerce market in 2009 exhibited substantial softness in the face of the global economic recession, which exerted downward pressure on consumer discretionary spending reflected in the e-commerce market," said the 2009 US Digital Year in Review.
"Throughout most of the decade, retail e-commerce spending saw growth rates in excess of 20 per cent annually, but 2008 showed signs of softness as the economy first began to weaken. While that year still saw retail e-commerce grow at a rate of six per cent, it was the first time on record of single-digit growth rates."
The best days of the year were unsurprisingly in the run-up to Christmas, and nine of the 10 biggest spending days were in December. Top of the list was 15 December, when $913m (£579m) changed hands online.
However, some areas performed well over the year. Online sales of books and magazines grew by 12 per cent, while computer games sales rose by seven per cent and consumer electronics sales by three per cent.
ComScore said that search volumes had grown by 16 per cent on the year, and that searches on Microsoft's Bing rose by 49 per cent. The biggest loser was AOL, which saw search volumes fall by 20 per cent.
Social networking had a very good year, according to the report, which said that nearly four out of five US internet users visited a social networking site in December 2009.
Facebook took the top spot with user growth of 105 per cent, while Twitter saw its user base jump from two million to 20 million users.
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