The cold December temperatures may have heated up online shopping transactions and contributed to a major eCommerce milestone in the process.

MasterCard's SpendingPulse report shows that the online share of retail sales totalled 7.8% for December, a first in Canadian eCommerce history.

Compiling purchase information from all forms of payment including credit cards, cash and cheques, MasterCard calculates that eCommerce spending showed a 22.2% month-over-month increase in December, representing the 54th consecutive month of positive year-over-year growth for the online channel.

"Canadians are embracing eCommerce, and steady growth is no surprise. However, for the first time, total online retail sales reached nearly 8%. An impressive share of spending is happening online and it's a trend that can't be ignored. Canadians recognize that electronic payments are a safe, reliable and convenient way to purchase items without leaving home to brave the elements," said Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors.

As far as total retail growth, the year-over-year figure was 2.3% higher, which still demonstrates slow but steady strength, notes Quinlan.

Additional research from comScore shows that 8 out of 10 Canadian online shoppers are likely to make purchases if they can return an item for free either in person or online. Also, 3 of 4 consumers have added to their cart so that they can qualify for free shipping.

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