New York - Deep discounts, free shipping and extended holiday promotions proved to be an unbeatable combination for online retailers, who took in more than $13.5 billion over Thanksgiving weekend.
e-tailers netted more than $1 billion on Cyber Monday alone, up 16 percent from last year, market research firm ComScore reported, representing the heaviest online spending day in history.
Sales were up 9 percent on Black Friday, to $886 million, although Thanksgiving Day saw the largest increase in online purchases, with sales soaring 28 percent year over year to $407 million.
Cyber Monday's record-breaking take was driven primarily by an increase in average spending per buyer (up 12 percent), while the number of shoppers grew by a more modest 4 percent, to 9 million customers. Average spending per transaction grew 10 percent to $60.05, while the total number of transactions increased 6 percent to 17.1 million, ComScore said.
Sales and traffic reports from online retailers reflected ComScore's tallies. Walmart.com said traffic increased about 30 percent on Black Friday over last year, and rocketed nearly 50 percent on Thanksgiving Day.
For online-only retailer Buy.com, Cyber Monday proved to be its single-biggest day in company history, with sales up 48 percent year over year as of 5:00 p.m. PST on Nov. 29. The e-tailer also enjoyed its best Black Friday ever with net sales up 45 percent, driven by a better than 100 percent increase in purchases through third-party sellers.
E-tail also led the charge for multi-channel retailer ShopNBC. Total company sales rose 36 percent on Cyber Monday while online sales surged 59 percent to comprise 56 percent of net revenue, up from 48 percent last year.
Similarly, ShopNBC's total Black Friday sales rose 12 percent over last year, driven by a 54 percent increase in online sales. E-commerce comprised 51 percent of net sales that day, up from 37 percent last year and 40.5 percent during the third quarter.
"ShopNBC's focus on highlighting the benefit of online shopping continued to resonate with the consumer," said Keith Stewart, ShopNBC CEO. He noted that video game consoles, big-screen TVs and GPS devices were some of the principal categories that drew customers.
AT&T similarly saw record online traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which contributed to one of the busiest post-Thanksgiving shopping weekends in company history.
Traffic at att.com was up 14 percent on Black Friday and more than 22 percent on Cyber Monday, driven by "compelling deals" and shop-at-home convenience. Traffic was also up significantly in the carrier's brick-and-mortar stores, drawn by device upgrades and U-verse TV sales, the company said.
"More consumers want the convenience of shopping online -- this has been a trend building over the last several years and [was] why we offered such a robust line-up of deals to kick off the holiday season," said ATT.com VP Phil Bienert.
Separately, Target's Thanksgiving weekend sales may have exceeded expectations, with brisk sales of discounted electronics pushing November same-store sales up as much as 6 percent, compared to earlier high-end estimates of 4 percent.
According to reports by Cleveland Research and Bloomberg, discounts on flat panel TVs and strong sales of iPods and Nikon Coolpix cameras helped drive holiday business.
Target and other national chain stores will report their November sales results tomorrow.