Going by the initial numbers of Black Friday sales online, the holiday shopping season is off to a great start!
Black Friday online sales topped $1 billion for the first time, according to comScore, an internet research company which measures online behavior.
Historically, Black Friday is touted as the biggest day of the year for brick-and-mortar retail stores, but online retailers are also seeing phenomenal year-over-year growth.
Online sales rise 26%
Retail e-commerce spending surged 26 percent on Black Friday compared with a year ago. The online sales accounted for $1.04 billion as opposed to last year's total of $816 million.
According to ShopperTrak which measures foot traffic across more than 50,000 retail locations across the US, Black Friday sales in physical retail stores were down 1.8 percent from the same day last year to $11.2 billion.
Meanwhile, the entire amount of 2012 online holiday spending beginning November until now has been $13.7 billion.
ComScore's co-founder and executive chairman, Gian M. Fulgoni, said, “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.”
He contended, “With Black Friday online sales up 26 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it a multichannel marketing phenomenon."
The most visited websites
Data shows 57.3 million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, representing an 18 percent increase in traffic compared to a year ago.
The top five online retailers with the most traffic on Black Friday were Amazon, Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy, Target and Apple Inc.
Amazon again led the pack, with more visitors than any other retailer and also posted the highest growth rate versus last year. Walmart came in as the second most-popular online shopping destination followed by sites in the Best Buy group, Target and Apple.
Focus now on Cyber Monday
All eyes are now trained on whether online sites can sustain the Black Friday momentum through Cyber Monday, which has been the biggest e-commerce day in recent times. Millions of bargain hunters across the nation are expected to log on from work.
Mia Shernoff, executive vice president for Chase Paymentech, a payment processing unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. stated, "Cyber Monday will be a big day, but not as much of a big day as it has been in the past. Faster broadband Internet connections in the office used to drive this. But now many consumers have faster connections at home and smart phones and tablets - they don't have to wait."