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Holiday online sales top $20B in 1st month

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shoppers bought $20.4 billion online in the first 30 days of the holiday season, a 15 percent increase from last year, according to research company comScore Inc.

That included three days that each topped $1 billion — the Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Cyber Monday, named because it's a day when many Americans return to work from the Thanksgiving holiday and start their holiday shopping online, had a record $1.47 billion in sales.

But the record-setting pace of sales was short-lived, comScore said in its report Sunday. The Reston, Va., company said growth rates slowed following Cyber Week, similar to the trend since in 2011. Warmer weather across much of the nation may have also driven more shoppers from their computers and into stores, comScore said.

Smartphones and tablets continued to be strong drivers of online sales. The top-gaining category for the season so far is Digital Content & Subscriptions, which includes digital book, music and video downloads. It's up 25 percent from a year ago.