HomeWorld BusinessBlack Friday online sales top $1 billion: comScore

Black Friday online sales top $1 billion: comScore

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SAN FRANCISCO — Black Friday retail sales online this year topped $1 billion for the first time ever as more consumers used the Internet do their early holiday shopping, comScore Inc said on Sunday.

Online sales jumped 26% on Black Friday to $1,04 billion from sales of $816 million on the corresponding day last year, according to comScore data.

Amazon.com was the most-visited retail website on Black Friday, and it also posted the highest year-over-year visitor growth rate among the top five retailers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s website was second, followed by sites run by Best Buy Co., Target Corp and Apple Inc, comScore noted.

Digital content and subscriptions, including e-books, digital music and video, was the fastest-growing retail category online, with sales up 29% versus Black Friday last year, according to comScore data.

E-commerce accounts for less than 10% of consumer spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wide selection. ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in physical retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales at $11,2 billion, down 1,8% from the same day last year.

“Online has been around 9% of total holiday sales, but it could breach 10% 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 expects online retail spending to rise 17% to $43,4 billion through the whole holiday season. That is above the 15% increase last season and ahead of the retail industry’s expectation for a 4,1% increase in overall spending this holiday. A big source of online shopping growth this holiday season has come from increased use of smart phones, which let people buy online even when they are in physical stores and by tablet computers, which have spurred more online shopping in the evenings, Wingo and others said.

Mobile devices accounted for 26% of visits to retail websites and 16% of purchases on Black Friday. That was up from 18,1% and 10,3%, respectively, on the same day last year, according to International Business Machines, which analyzes online traffic and transactions from 500 US retailers.

More than 20 million shoppers plan to use mobile devices on Cyber Monday, up from 17,8 million a year ago, the NRF said.

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