Online shoppers lift Black Friday sales to $1bn in America



Black Friday retail sales online this year topped $1bn for the first time ever as more consumers used the Internet do their early holiday shopping.

Online sales jumped 26pc on Black Friday to $1.04bn (£624m) from sales of $816m on the corresponding day last year, according to comScore data.

Amazon was the most-visited retail website on Black Friday, and it also posted the highest year-over-year visitor growth rate among the top five retailers. Wal-Mart's website was second, followed by sites run by Best Buy (Dusseldorf: 912551.DU - news) , Target (Berlin: DYH.BE - news) and Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) , comScore noted.

Digital (Milan: DIB.MI - news) content and subscriptions, including e-books, digital music and video, was the fastest-growing retail category online, with sales up 29pc versus Black Friday last year, according to comScore data.

E-commerce accounts for less than 10pc of consumer spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wide selection.

ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in physical retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales at $11.2bn, down 1.8pc from the same day last year.

"Online has been around 9pc of total holiday sales, but it could breach 10pc for the first time this season," said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more on websites, including (NasdaqGS: AMZN - news) and

ComScore (Xetra: A0MSHZ - news) expects online retail spending to rise 17pc to $43.4bn through the whole holiday season. That is above the 15pc increase last season and ahead of the retail industry's expectation for a 4.1pc increase in overall spending this holiday.

It's not clear yet whether strong Black Friday sales online will weaken growth on Cyber Monday, which has been the biggest e-commerce day in the United States in recent years.

"Cyber Monday will be a big day, but not as much of a big day as it has been in the past," said Mia Shernoff, executive vice president for Chase Paymentech, a payment-processing unit of JP Morgan Chase. "Faster broadband Internet connections in the office used to drive this. But now many consumers have faster connections at home and smart phones and tablets - they don't have to wait."

ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said Cyber Monday online sales may reach $1.5 billion this year. That would be up 20 percent from the corresponding day last year - slower year-over-year growth than Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

More than 129m Americans plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from almost 123 million on the same day last year, according to a survey conducted in recent days for the National Retail Federation.

The group also expects 85 percent of retailers to have a special promotion for Cyber Monday.