Total online spending by consumers reached $41.3 billion in the third quarter, representing a 16 percent increase versus the same period in 2005, according to a recent comScore Networks U.S. e-commerce report.

The report looked at sales estimates for the third quarter of 2006 and the entire year forecast, finding that online non-travel spending increased to $23.1 billion, up 23 percent from last year’s $18.8 billion in the third quarter. Online travel spending so far this year rose 13 percent to $52.9 billion and third-quarter revenue in this sector was $18.2 billion, up only 9 percent from $16.8 billion in last year.

“Today, there are broader online offerings from more retailers covering more product categories and retail sites are easier to navigate and use,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore.

The slower growth rate in online travel spending may be because almost 70 percent of online travel spending comes from air travel, a sector already well penetrated online. Thus, according to Mr. Fulgoni, there are fewer people left to migrate online to conduct a purchase.

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