Amazon.com topped Experian Hitwise's list of the top-visited retail sites on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving that represents the traditional start of the holiday online shopping season. The statistics firm said Amazon.com received 15.53 percent of U.S. visits to the top 500 retail Websites, a 44 percent increase over Cyber Monday 2008.
In second place was Wal-Mart, with a 9.54 percent market share for the day, followed by Target with 5.16 percent, Best Buy with 3.56 percent, and JC Penney with 2.58 percent. Overall for the top 500 retail Websites, Hitwise says, traffic was down 9 percent versus Cyber Monday 2008.
Cyber Monday 2009 offered especially positive news for Staples, which saw its number of online visitors increase 61 percent over 2008; Apple, which saw a 71 percent increase; and Barnes & Noble, which enjoyed a 46 percent rise. Barnes & Noble is hoping that its Nook e-reader, designed to compete with Amazon.com's Kindle, will be a hit this holiday season.
However, Amazon.com may have had the most to crow about Hitwise's numbers: it remained the most-visited retail site on Cyber Monday for the fourth year in a row.
In a separate report, research firm comScore suggested that Cyber Monday's online sales totaled $887 million, a 5 percent increase from Cyber Monday 2008. comScore also suggested that Cyber Monday 2009 matched the heaviest online spending day on record, Dec. 9, 2008; the heaviest spending day online, according to the firm, usually happens in mid-December.
"We've seen an encouraging start to the online holiday shopping season and it would appear that retailers' aggressive and early marketing efforts have so far succeeded in persuading consumers to open their wallets online," Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, wrote in a Dec. 2 statement. "Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were atypically strong online sales days this year, and Cyber Monday has continued that trend by outperforming the season-to-date average growth rate."
Online spending also saw an increase on Black Friday, the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving beginning of the holiday shopping season. According to comScore, online spending rose 11 percent year-over-year; although given that Black Friday 2008 took place during a steep economic nosedive, any such gains may be considered relative. Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Apple saw their online shopper numbers rise by 28 percent, 22 percent, and 39 percent, respectively, over last year.
Financial analysts have suggested that consumers, still stung by the economic recession and a slow recovery, will be reluctant to open their wallets this year; indeed, the NRF (National Retail Federation) estimated per-capita spending over the weekend at $343.31, down from $372.57 during the same period in 2008. Websites specializing in coupons and comparison shopping saw large increases in visitors this year.
U.S. consumers spent $12.26 billion online in November, according to comScore, representing a 3 percent increase over 2008.