The robust online shopping season continued this week as Cyber Monday sales surpassed the billion dollar mark for the first time ever, making it the heaviest online spending day in history, according to comScore.
Online sales in the U.S. reached $1.028 billion on Monday, November 29, up from $887 million on the same day last year, an increase of 16 percent, the researcher said.
Those numbers are consistent with the overall increase in Web sales for the entire holiday season to date: $13.55 billion since November 1, up from $12 billion in 2009, a 13 percent increase.
The Cyber Monday success comes on the heels of a record-breaking Black Friday, when comScore estimates Web sales reached $648 million in the U.S., an increase of 9 percent over last year, according to comScore. Other research firms placed that number as high as 16 percent.
Cyber Monday's stats contain more evidence that shoppers aren’t just spending more as a group, but individually. The average purchase per buyer was $114, up from $102 last year, an increase of 12 percent, according to comScore. A little less than half of those purchases were made from work (49 percent), a slight decrease from 2009 (52 percent), a fact that comScore attributed to the increasing availability of home broadband access in the U.S.
Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, cautioned that although online sales numbers were encouraging so far, much of the increased activity might be due to unusually aggressive discounts from retailers. "While we anticipate that there will be more billion-dollar spending days ahead as we get deeper into the season," he said in a written statement, "only time will tell if overall consumer online spending remains at the elevated levels we’ve seen thus far.”
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014