Cyber Monday Rakes in Record $1.25 Billion

Consumers Are Spending Earlier, but Web's Biggest Shopping Day Is Far From Dead

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Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in history, with consumers spending $1.25 billion in non-travel purchases online yesterday, according to ComScore.

Spending on the first workday following Thanksgiving weekend, which has become a major online shopping marketing event in just six years, was up 22 % from 2010. Last year was the first time the online shopping holiday topped $1 billion in single-day spending, reported ComScore.

Source: ComScore totals include non-travel retail spending, excluding auctions and large corporate purchases, across U.S. home and work locations.
Source: ComScore totals include non-travel retail spending, excluding auctions and large corporate purchases, across U.S. home and work locations.

There's also evidence that big online sales are creeping earlier in the holiday weekend and consumers aren't waiting for Monday. That may be because retailers are extending deals beyond just Cyber Monday. The likes of Amazon and Macy's are hosting two-day and week-long cyber sales this year.

Consumers, too, were looking for online deals as early as Friday. "Best Buy," "Kohls" and "Macys" were among the top 10 most-searched terms in the U.S. on Friday, according to Google Trends. Two variations of "Black Friday online deals" and more retailers rounded out the top 20.

Online spending on Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving and the kick-off to the holiday shopping season -- is growing faster than on Cyber Monday, albeit from a smaller base. Online sales on Black Friday grew 26% to $816 million this year, according to ComScore. Looking at the $338 million in e-commerce revenue resulting from search ads measured by Dentsu's IgnitionOne, Black Friday spending was up 63% year over year, compared with just a 34% increase on Cyber Monday. And advertising isn't responsible for the disparity: Search spending on Black Friday was up 25% vs. last year, compared to a heftier 50% bump for Cyber Monday.

However, Black Friday is still far from becoming a major online shopping day. It hasn't been a top-10 day for online spending since 2005 and is not expected to make the list this year either. That's because last-minute shopping reigns -- December dates before Christmas dominate as the days consumer spend the most online. It even took Cyber Monday until last year to generate more online sales than dates in December. For that , we can likely thank marketers' Cyber Monday promotion bonanza, including a torrent of emails promoting cut-rate deals.

But at its current levels of growth, Black Friday could break the top 10 in the next few years, as the entire premise of Cyber Monday is becoming outdated. The term was coined in 2005, when high-speed broadband was available to many U.S. consumers only at work. Retailers saw a spike in web traffic as consumers looked to continue their holiday shopping online from work computers. With high-speed internet becoming ubiquitous in homes and even on mobile phones, holiday shopping online isn't waiting for the work hookup until Monday. Only about half of online spending happens at work, ComScore now finds.

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