Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Target, Apple and Best Buy led online shopping sales on Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, says research company ComScore. Despite an increase in Black Friday online sales over 2008, analysts are concerned that recession-conscious holiday shoppers continue to be reluctant to shop. Cyber Monday, on Nov. 30, will in many ways be the ultimate test of the nation's online shopping appetite this year.
Online spending on Black Friday, the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving beginning
of the holiday shopping season, was up 11 percent over a year ago, according to
research company ComScore. Shoppers gravitated toward Amazon.com
online store, as well as the online sites for Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy.
Black Friday 2009 pulled in $595 million in online sales, versus $534 million for the same day in 2008. Of course, last year's Black Friday occurred during
a steep economic nosedive, making any gains relative. Financial analysts have
expressed concern that holiday
shoppers may be more reluctant to open their wallets this year,
with the NRF
(National Retail Federation) estimating per capita spending over the weekend at
$343.31, down from $372.57 during the same time period in 2008.
Over the first 27 days of November, about $10.57 billion was spent online, a
3 percent rise over 2008. ComScore saw a 17 percent increase of visitors to
online coupon sites versus a year ago, as well as a rise in visits to
"Cyber Monday-the traditional kickoff to the online holiday shopping
season-and the subsequent weeks will be the real test for how online retailers
fare this season," Gian Fulgoni, chairman of ComScore, wrote
in a Nov. 29 statement.
"That said, this is a very encouraging
Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Apple's worldwide sites saw their online shopper
numbers rise 28 percent, 22 percent and 39 percent, respectively, over Black
Friday 2008. Target experienced a 2 percent increase, while Best Buy's Websites
saw a 24 percent rise.
In a separate report, Experian Hitwise indicated that Amazon.com was the
most-visited retail Website on Black Friday 2009, attracting 13.55 percent of
U.S. visits to the top 500 retail Websites. The research company said Wal-Mart
was second with 11.18 percent of visits, followed by Target.com with 5.65
percent and Best Buy with 4.62 percent.
"While this acceleration in spending suggests the online holiday season
may be shaping up slightly more optimistically than anticipated," Fulgoni
added, "it may also reflect the heavy discounting and creative promotions
being put forth by retailers that now encompass the use of social networks such
as Facebook and Twitter."
The real test, Fulgoni added, could come as soon as Nov. 30, aka Black
Monday, traditionally the high-water mark for holiday online shopping.
Editor's Note: A number in the second paragraph was corrected.