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From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Green Monday (held yesterday, December 10th) and Free Shipping Day (coming up on December 17th), the holiday shopping season is now in full swing.

This year, Americans logged on and spent a staggering $1.46 billion on gifts on Cyber Monday alone. It's part of a larger trend away from bricks-and-mortar retail and towards e-commerce. Last year, total e-commerce spending for the November - December holiday season reached a staggering $37.2 billion--a 15-percent increase over the previous year and an all-time record for the season, according to ComScore, a digital analytics company.

And just last month Forrester Research Inc. issued its influential 2012 online holiday shopping forecast for the U.S., predicting that web retailers will bring in $68.4 billion in revenue this holiday season--yet another 15 percent increase year-over-year. Individually, the average U.S. holiday shopper is expected to spend $419 online, a 12 percent increase from last year.

But even eleventh-hour online shopping isn't so rosy when you've missed the cut-off for having your presents shipped in time for the holidays. Luckily, online retailers are adding digital gift certificates to their line-up, allowing the most talented procrastinators a chance to send gifts directly to recipients' inboxes. And unlike a plastic gift card, there's no threat of losing a digital gift certificate because it's saved in your inbox.

Though e-gift cards only make up 4 percent of the $97.2 billion gift cards, the number is bound to grow as more people take advantage of the one-click system. Here are some ideas for last-minute digital gift giving:

  • iTunes stepped up their eGifts this year to allow customers to create a more personalized gift certificate by sending friends a specific movie or album
  • A three-, six- or 12-month gift membership to Audible.com will replenish a friend's e-reader
  • Facebook's new Gifts app lets users give real-world presents like credits towards Uber town car service and charitable donations
  • The Capital Grille's eGift cards outdo the traditional gift certificate by including a personalized voice memo and picture from the sender.

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