Retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. reached $186.2 billion in 2012, up 15% from the prior year, according to new figures from comScore. It marked the strongest annual growth rate since before the recession. What’s more, sales grew 14% to $56.8 billion in the fourth quarter — the first time ever that quarterly sales have eclipsed the $50 billion mark. “With e-commerce growth rates consistently in the mid-teens throughout the year, it is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer,” said Gian Fulgoni, the chairman of comScore. “The only real blemish on an otherwise outstanding year for e-commerce was a holiday season that fell shy of initial expectations, apparently due to consumers’ fiscal cliff concerns.” Fulgoni said his firm remains “optimistic” about continued momentum in 2013. Read more.