While online sales growth has slowed in categories traditionally dominated by male buyers, like computer hardware and software, sales of cosmetics, fragrances, home goods and other items typically aimed at female shoppers have soared.

"We've seen this trend coming for a few years, but now we're actually seeing the numbers come in," said Carrie Johnson, an analyst with Forrester Research and the author of a report on online sales that was issued late last month by Shop.org, an industry trade group.

According to the report, sales of cosmetics and fragrances grew 58 percent last year, while sales of health and beauty products and home goods jumped by more than 33 percent over the previous year. Sales of computer hardware and software grew just 13 percent. Over all, online commerce sales increased 24 percent.

Johnson and other analysts attribute the trend to the increasing online experience of women, who were slower than men to embrace the Internet but are now increasingly relying on it to buy goods. Additionally, online merchants are developing new features and services for women shoppers that would be difficult to replicate offline.

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