Black Friday Online Sales Top $1 Billion for First Time, ComScore Reports

Black Friday retail sales online this year topped $1 billion for the first time ever.

The day after Thanksgiving has become a successful day for Internet retailers, as online sales for the key shopping day surpassed $1 billion for the first time. Рhoto: John mary/Flickr

According to ComScore, the sending on Black Friday, which marked the start of the holiday shopping season, leaps 26 percent over last year’s one, surpassing the $1 billion mark.

Online customers spent $1.042 billion on Black Friday, a 26 percent increase of last year’s shopping event, judging by new figures released today by market analyst ComScore.

Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day also increased, totaling $633 million in receipts, a 32 percent increase over Thanksgiving 2011, reports CNet.

“Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the e-commerce channel – particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores,” ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement.

“Coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it a multi-channel marketing phenomenon,” he added.

ShopperTrak, which specializes counting of foot traffic in physical retail stores, estimated last Friday’s sales at $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent from the same day last year.

“Online has been around 9 percent of total holiday sales, but it could breach 10 percent for the first time this season,” said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more on websites, including Amazon.com and eBay.com.

ComScore predicts that online retail spending would rise on 17 percent to $43.4 billion through the whole holiday season.

These numbers are above the 15 percent increase in the same period in 2011 and ahead of the retail industry’s expectation for a 4.1 percent increase in overall spending this holiday, Reuters writes.

Ut’s not clear yet whether strong Black Friday sales online will weaken growth on Cyber Monday, which has been the biggest e-commerce day in the United States in recent years.

“Cyber Monday will be a big day, but not as much of a big day as it has been in the past,” said Mia Shernoff, executive vice president for Chase Paymentech, a payment-processing unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

He continued: “Faster broadband Internet connections in the office used to drive this. But now many consumers have faster connections at home and smart phones and tablets – they don’t have to wait.”

ComScore CEO Gian Fulgoni suggested that Cyber Monday online sales may reach $1.5 billion this year.

More than 129 million Americans are looking forward to Cyber Monday to buy anticipated goods, up from almost 123 million on the same day last year, says the National Retail Federation.

Michael Gatti, Senior Vice President of the National Retail Federation, says that in total shoppers spent more on gifts and on themselves.

“That adds up to about $59 billion in spending this year, compared to $52 billion last year,” he said.

“Some people like the social aspect of being in the store with others,” said of online customers Steve Krenzer, CEO of PriceGrabber.com.

“Some people like to shop in their bunny slippers, so for some it’s the anonymity and the convenience of doing it 24 hours a day from their own living room.”

Gatti added, saying: “This a huge evolution we’re seeing in the way customers shop,” Gatti said, “and it’s being brought on by mobile devices and this new technology that we’ve got.”

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