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Black Friday surpasses $US1bn in online sales

Day after Thanksgiving in US becomes major online shopping phenomenon

Not waiting until Cyber Monday, online shoppers made Black Friday the biggest online spending day of the year so far.

Black Friday, the marketing term given for the day after Thanksgiving and generally one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season, topped $1 billion in online sales for the first time, with $1.042 billion, according to online tracker comScore.

For the entire holiday season to date which began Nov. 1, comScore reported that online shoppers spent $13.7 billion, a 16% increase over the same days in November last year.

"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," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. "With Black Friday online sales up 26% and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8%, we can now confidently call it a multi-channel marketing phenomenon."

ComScore also noted that 57.3 million Americans visited online stores on Black Friday, an 18% increase over the same day in 2011.

According to a report from the National Retail Federation, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and Web sites over the entire Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. The report also noted that the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or about 40.7% of their total weekend spending, up slightly from 37.8% in 2011.

Thanksgiving is also picking up steam as another major shopping day.

While some retail stories opened for business on Thanksgiving this year, figures show that a growing number of Americans ate turkey, did the dishes and then shopped online. According to comScore, online shoppers spent $633 million on Thanksgiving Day, a 32% increase over last year's $479 million.

ComScore expects today, which is known as Cyber Monday because of the number of people who spend part of their work day shopping online, to bring in huge numbers.

Fulgoni said Cyber Monday sales are expected to approach or surpass $1.5 billion.

Amazon.com was the most visited online store on Black Friday, followed by Walmart, BestBuy, Target and Apple.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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