Online sales in the US during Black Friday reached $1.04 billion (£624 million), up 26 per cent on last year, it has been announced.
Surpassing $1 billion for the first time, online sales are increasingly popular as busy consumers favour the e-commerce channel over the traditional bricks and mortar offerings in order to save time and avoid crowded high streets.
According to digital analytics firm comScore, pure-play e-tailer Amazon was the most visited retail website on the day, followed by Wal-Mart, which began promotional activity early this year, Best Buy, Target and Apple.
Amazon posted the highest year-on-year visitor growth rate of the top five retailers as a total of 57.3 million American visited retail sites on the day, an 18 per cent rise on a year ago.
Gian Fulgoni , Chairman of comScore, 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.
“With Black Friday online sales up 26 per cent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 per cent, we can now confidently call it a multichannel marketing phenomenon.”
Over the holiday season-to-date, $13.7 billion has been spent online while, from a product category perspective, digital content and subscriptions are the top-grower reporting a rise of 29 per cent on 2011 thanks to the unending interest in smartphones, tablets and e-readers, as toys saw a 27 per cent rise in sales.
Apparel and accessories proved most popular on Black Friday and accounting for more than a quarter of all dollars spent, overtaking computer hardware sales which traditionally outshine competitors.
However, tradition took a backseat this year across the pond as Thanksgiving Day on November 22nd, though usually a lighter day for online spend, saw a 32 per cent boost to $633 million.
Fulgoni explained: “Thanksgiving Day – which has historically been a lighter online holiday shopping day – continues to gain steam and grew well ahead of the current pace as more consumers opted to kick off their holiday shopping immediately after the big meal to take advantage of aggressive retailer promotions.
“With Thanksgiving now behind us and most consumers returning to work tomorrow, we can look forward with anticipation to Cyber Monday, which according to norms we‘ve observed over the past three years should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season with sales approaching $1.5 billion or even higher.”