Black Friday was a bright day for Internet retailers, as online sales for the key shopping day surpassed $1 billion for the first time.
Bargain hunters spent $1.042 billion online the day after Thanksgiving, a 26 percent increase of last year's Black Friday, according to 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.
"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."
ComScore's Black Friday results are largely in line with IBM data, which found a 20.7 percent increase in online shopping.
Historically the No. 2 sales category on Black Friday, apparel and accessories accounted for more than a quarter of all dollars spent online, overtaking last year's No. 1 -- computer hardware. As adoption of tablets and smartphones continues to grow, sales of digital content and subscriptions achieved the greatest sales growth, logging a 29 percent increase over last year.
Some 57.3 million people visited online retail sites Friday, an 18 percent increase over last year. Excluding auction sites such as eBay, the most visited site was Amazon, followed by Walmart and Best Buy. Target and Apple rounded out the top five.
ComScore also predicted record spending tomorrow during Cyber Monday, the post-holiday occasion when U.S. consumers are said to take their shopping lists with them to the office.
"With Thanksgiving now behind us and most consumers returning to work tomorrow, we can look forward with anticipation to Cyber Monday, which according to norms we've observed over the past three years should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season with sales approaching $1.5 billion or even higher," Fulgoni said.
That forecast surpasses the $1.25 billion consumers spent online during last year's Cyber Monday.
Online shopping for the first 23 days of November logged $13.7 billion in sales, a 16 percent increase over the same period last year, according to ComScore.