Shoppers scrambling to buy last-minute presents but avoid the malls spent $1 billion on this year's "Free Shipping Day."
The annual event is scheduled to take place on the last day that orders delivered by ground can be guaranteed to arrive by Christmas. This year, that was Dec. 17, when more than 1,000 retailers offered free shipping.
Free Shipping Day was the beginning of a hectic workweek for online merchants, who raked in $3.69 billion during last week's five weekdays, up 53 percent from the same period last year, according to research firm ComScore.
"The fact that Free Shipping Day occurred on a Monday, combined with the fact that so many retailers extended their promotions into the middle of the week -- with guaranteed shipping by Christmas -- helped deliver an encouraging late-season surge," said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.
The busiest online shopping day of the year was again Cyber Monday -- Nov. 26 this year -- with a record $1.47 billion of spending, followed by Dec. 4, and then Dec. 10 (also known as Green Monday).
During the holiday shopping season online retailers racked up a dozen days that each surpassed more than $1 billion in spending, topping last year's total of 10 days.