For the first time since the internet's inception, Black Friday deals led online sales for the coveted shopping day surpass $1 billion. Eager bargain hunters spent an accumulative of $1.042 billion online the day after Thanksgiving, representing a 26 percent increase in spending online compared to last year's Black Friday.
According to figures released by market analyst ComScore, online shopping on Thanksgiving Day also increased by generating $633 million in receipts, which is 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. "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."
Apparel and accessories accounted for more than a quarter of all dollars spent online last Friday, consequently overtaking last year's number one seller, computer hardware. Tablets and smartphone sales also experienced an increase, as did sales of digital content and subscriptions, which boasts the largest sales growth with a 29 percent increase over last year.
57.3 million web users visited online retail sites on Friday, an 18 percent increase over the figure from 2011. Apart from auction sites including eBay, the most visited site was Amazon, with the world's largest online retailer followed by brick-and-mortar giants Walmart and Best Buy, while Target and Apple completed the top five.
Elsewhere, ComScore predicts record spending during Cyber Monday, which is the day when U.S. consumers are proven to continue their shopping in the office. The company's forecast surpasses the $1.25 billion spent online during 2011's Cyber Monday.
"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 added.
Online shopping for the first 23 days of November, meanwhile, resulted in $13.7 billion in sales, representing a 16 percent increase over the same period last year.