A report from comScore found that holiday ecommerce sales rose 15 percent in 2011, with digital content subscriptions contributing greatly.

Market research firm comScore recently said that final holiday ecommerce sales figures for 2011 represented 15 percent growth over the same time period in 2010. Marketers should take note that online shopping is on the rise, and buying trends suggest consumers are willing to spend more for quality web content.

According to the analysis, Americans spent more than $35 billion online between November 1 and December 26. Moreover, the eight distinct shopping periods studied this holiday season showed at least 14 percent annual growth, with Black Friday representing the largest increase at 26 percent – $816 million compared to $648 million in 2010.

While electronics and clothing proved popular gifts in 2011, digital content subscriptions performed especially well in the year. According to the study, digital content and various web subscriptions represented 2.8 percent of all ecommerce sales during the holidays. Consumers’ increasing consumption of web content is a trend Brafton has reported before; Americans spend five times longer with internet and mobile content than traditional newspapers, according to eMarketer.

For marketers, the 2011 holidays hold lessons that can be used throughout the year. For one, using content marketing to engage online audiences caters to consumers’ growing interest in online media. Additionally, rising ecommerce and the sheer amount of people who are comfortable shopping online demonstrates a massive opportunity to increase sales throughout the year.

Effective web marketing strategies that include informative content can help a retailer distinguish itself from competitors. Brafton recently reported that the average consumer visits more than 10 sources online before deciding on a purchase. Content marketing campaigns that provide detailed product information and broader industry news can be especially useful for attracting consumers who seek greater value from their purchases.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.