ComScore has just released The comScore 2008 Digital Year in Review, a roundup the year’s trends in Internet usage, search, e-commerce, online video consumption, advertising, and mobile. The year’s trends reflect the economic and political climate. “The 2008 year in digital marketing is one that probably leaves one considering whether the glass is half-empty or half-full,” says the report.

Some highlights:

2008 was worst year for e-commerce growth since comScore began tracking in 2001, increasing by 7 percent to $214.4 in 2008. Surprisingly, travel e-commerce grew more than retail.

Reflecting the times, job search was the fastest growing website category, growing 51 percent in 2008. Coupon and classified sites also saw sharp growth as a result of the recession.

The election made politics one of the fastest growing categories, as well. Traffic to dominated visits to three to one.

The US Internet population grew 4 percent to 190 million. Google sites continued to dominate, growing 12 percent to 149 million visitors.

The top gaining US web property was Break Media, “the Internet's premier entertainment community for men,” which grew by 279 percent.

ComScore estimates that the average Internet user saw more than 2,000 ads per month on average, and US users saw in total 4.5 trillion non-video ads. Most of these ads were probably from mobile providers, as four of the top ten advertisers were phone companies, led by AT&T.

Online video viewing grew 34 percent in 2008, accounting for 12.5 percent of users’ time on the Internet in November. YouTube accounted for two-thirds of video’s growth, growing 74 percent.

Hulu grew 57 percent in the last six months of 2008. Its TV shows and movies are responsible for the average online video duration growing from 2.8 to 3.1 minutes per video.

By Mark Alvarez