Online purchases hit $41.5 billion in the third quarter, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The ease and convenience of shopping online means that Internet purchases made up more than 4% of U.S. retail sales in the third quarter, according to eWay.com.

In 2004, online purchases made up just 2% of retail sales, and just 1% in 2000.

For the third quarter of 2010, online sales were up 13.6%, compared with a gain of 6% for overall retail sales.



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