NEW YORK – Cyber shoppers spent more than $1 billion on Black Friday for the first time last month.
According to market research firm ComScore, online sales soared 26 percent the day after Thanksgiving, to $1.04 billion.
But thanks to a slew of pre-Black Friday sales, e-commerce spending rose an even steeper 32 percent on Thanksgiving, to $633 million.
“Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see [Thanksgiving] become more and more prominent in the ecommerce channel — particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores,” said ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
Fulgoni’s figures were echoed by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGinsight, which found that more than one-quarter (27 percent) of holiday shoppers shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, compared with nearly half (47.5 percent) who did so on Black Friday. Consumers also spent more of their holiday budget online, spending $172.42 on average with e-tailers over the weekend, or about 40.7 percent of their total weekend spending, up from 37.8 percent last year.
“There’s no question that millions of people were drawn to retailers’ aggressive online promotions this weekend, making sure to research and compare prices days in advance to ensure they were getting the best deal they could,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at BIGinsight.
Indeed, online traffic was up 18 percent to 57.3 million shoppers on Black Friday alone, ComScore said, with Amazon.com proving the most popular and fastest-growing destination, followed by Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com and Apple.com.
Apparel was the No. 1 category for online spending on Black Friday, Com- Score found, although the fastest growing categories were digital content and subscriptions, up 29 percent; toys, up 27 percent; packaged goods, up 23 percent; and CE and video game hardware, both up 18 percent.
But despite the double-digit sales growth on Black Friday, several key performance metrics remained flat or down year-over-year, IBM reported, including conversion rate (up 0.22 percent to 4.58 percent) and average order size (down 4.67 percent to $181.22).
What’s more, social networks accounted for only 0.34 percent of online sales on Black Friday, down nearly 36 percent from last year, with referrals from Facebook falling 1.45 percent to 0.68 percent, and Twitter referral traffic plummeting 100 percent to zero.
Nevertheless, Fulgoni had even higher hopes for Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), the Black Friday Web Sales Break $1B Barrier online shopping event contrived six years ago by the NRF, and which has since extended into Cyber Week. “According to norms we’ve observed over the past three years [Cyber Monday] should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season,” he said, with sales approaching $1.5 billion or higher.
Fulgoni’s forecast appeared on track as online sales soared 24.1 percent year over year by noon on Cyber Monday according to IBM, which tracks transaction data from 500 U.S. retail websites.
Similarly, Shop.org, the online arm of NRF, predicted online crowds of 129.2 million for Cyber Monday, up from the 122.8 million last year and 106.9 million in 2010.
“The momentum from a solid Black Friday weekend certainly looks like it will carry on into Cyber Monday,” said BIGinsight’s Goodfellow. Supporting her projection were early tabulations from Experian Marketing Services, which showed that online traffic to the leading shopping sites was up an average of 7 percent through the Thanksgiving weekend. Retailers receiving the most “Cyber Monday” searches were, in descending order, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Amazon.com, Sears.com and Target.com,
Experian said, and the top five product searches for Nov. 26 were Kindle Fire, Uggs, iPad, iPad Touch and iPad Mini.
Special Cyber Monday deals included a Toshiba 15.6-inch Windows 8 laptop with 2GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive $270 at BestBuy.com, and a Samsung 40-inch 3D Slim LED TV for $748 at Amazon.com. Amazon also offered its Kindle Fire for $129, and noted that Cyber Monday was the biggest day ever for Kindle sales worldwide.
M-commerce was another winner on Cyber Monday. According to Shop.org, the number of shoppers who planned to use mobile devices on Nov. 26 increased 14.4 percent year over year to 20.4 million, or 15.8 percent of all Cyber Monday shoppers.