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Shoppers hit the Web on Thanksgiving

Doug Gross
Retailers have seen an increase in online sales, especially on Thanksgiving, online traffic analyst comScore says.
Retailers have seen an increase in online sales, especially on Thanksgiving, online traffic analyst comScore says.
  • Online sales saw a huge spike on Thanksgiving -- up 28 percent from last year
  • "Black Friday" also saw a strong increase, according to comScore
  • Increase in internet shopping goes along with reports of overall rise in holiday spending
  • Internet
  • Thanksgiving
  • Shopping

Online sales increased on "Black Friday" this year, but not nearly as much as they did on Thanksgiving.

More than a quarter more people took to the internet to shop after the turkey was gone this year, according to online traffic analyst comScore.

Digital shoppers spent $407 million on Thanksgiving, traditionally a slow shopping day, according to comScore. That's a 28 percent increase over 2009.

E-commerce on Friday hit $648 million, a 9 percent increase over last year, making it the heaviest online shopping day so far this year, the site said in a news release.

"Although Black Friday is known for the flurry of activity occurring in brick-and-mortar retail stores, online shopping is increasingly becoming the refuge of those preferring to avoid the crowds and long lines," comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. "Interestingly, we are also seeing consumers beginning to buy online in a more meaningful way on Thanksgiving Day, which has historically seen low buying activity."

The apparent increase in online shopping comes as analysts are predicting an increase in overall holiday spending. Bloomberg was reporting Monday that sales this season could see their biggest increase since 2007.

ComScore said that online shopping so far in November has been up as well. Through November 26, shoppers had spent about $11.6 billion on the internet, comScore said. That's a 13 percent jump from last year.

Four retailers saw more than 4 million visitors Friday, according to comScore: Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Amazon's increase in traffic was a whopping 25 percent, buoyed, perhaps, by the growing popularity of the Kindle e-reader.

Target's traffic was up 9 percent, Best Buy's increased 1 percent and Wal-Mart's was down 1 percent from last year.

Monday is the next big day to keep an eye on. The so-called "Cyber Monday" is presented as a day for holiday shoppers to find deals online.

But the truth may be a bit more muted than the hype. ComScore says Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, has never been the biggest online shopping day of the year, and Consumer Reports says the bargains that internet shoppers will find Monday usually will be around for at least a few more days.


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