Shoppers gave thanks for online deals

RESTON, Va. — Retailers who promoted their online presence as a way to avoid the crowds this past weekend were rewarded for their efforts with record sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

The online measurement firm ComScore said Black Friday online sales increase 26% to $816 million and Thanksgiving Day sales increased 18% to $479 million. Both figures are noteworthy as physical retailers also recorded a record turnout and sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Including the online sales from the weekend, ComScore puts online sales for the first 25 days of November at roughly $12.7 billion, or 15% more than last year.

“Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. “With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels.”

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, representing an increase of 35%, versus a year ago, and each of the top five retail sites (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple) achieved double-digit gains in visitors compared to last year, according to ComScore.

“Amazon.com once again led the pack, with 50% more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year,” Fulgoni said. “However, it is telling that the top multi-channel retailers also showed strong growth in visitors, demonstrating the importance of the online channel to the retail industry as a whole.”

The same traffic trends and record sales likely are to be evident on Cyber Monday with most retailers running online only specials and filling inboxes with email marketing promotional efforts. Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever with sales exceeding $1 billion and ComScore expects a new record will be achieved this year.