NEW YORK — Apparel ran a virtual dead heat with books for the most popular product purchased online in November, as 5.2 percent of cybershoppers spent $1.6 billion for clothing they bought the e-way, up 33 percent from $1.2 billion a year ago.

Those figures were revealed Tuesday in a holiday eSpending report by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings, which found those apparel purchases amounted to roughly one-fifth of consumers’ $8.5 billion in online spending, excluding travel, last month. That $8.5 billion marked a 55 percent surge over spending of $5.5 billion in November 2002, as 51 percent of Internet users began holiday shopping online in November, up from 43 percent a year earlier.

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