Consumers increased their spending with online retailers in December by 12 percent over December 2009 levels, according to a new report from IBM. The findings expand on the company's earlier report that both Black Friday 2010 and Cyber Monday 2010 delivered strong double-digit growth over 2009.

The report also bolsters the belief, suggested in previous reports, that consumer spending continues to migrate to the Internet.

Online sales were up 12 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $171.06 to $190.42 for an increase of 11.3 percent.

Department stores and health and beauty

Both department stores and health and beauty retailers continue to show growth in online sales that far outpace the online retail sector overall. Both sectors reported sales increases of approximately 23 percent, with department stores reporting an increase of 22.6 percent and healthy and beauty retailers reporting 23.3 percent.

Jewelry retailers also reported a significant jump of 18.5 percent in sales, further evidence that upper income consumers are back to their free-spending ways.

Consumers also continue to use mobile technology as a shopping tool. Throughout December, 5.6 percent of all site visits were initiated from a mobile device, a 19 percent increase over November 2010. Further, 5.5 percent of all online retail sales came from mobile devices, a seven percent increase over November 2010.

Enticing consumers

"Retailers did a tremendous job of enticing consumers to shop online with a variety of special promotions, guaranteed delivery dates, free or deeply discounted shipping, and up-to-date inventory information," said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Coremetrics. "Consumers have come to value the ease and convenience of shopping whenever and wherever they please, and are increasingly turning to online sites to research and purchase a variety of products."

While consumers shopping in brick and mortar stores decreased their use of credit cards to pay for purchases, online shoppers, of course, used credit cards almost exclusively, perhaps saving credit card companies from a dismal December.

In a separate report, ComScore reported earlier this month that during the 49 days of the holiday shopping season, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 19, e-commerce spending on gift items increased to over $28 billion. That, it turns out, is also a 12 percent increase over 2009 levels.