$531 Million Spent Online on Black Friday

More than $9.3 billion has been spent online during the holiday season-to-date, marking a 17-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year, according to comScore, Inc. Online retail spending was strong on both Thanksgiving Day (up 29 percent to $272 million) and “Black Friday” (up 22 percent to $531 million), outpacing the season-to-date growth rate.

“The Friday after Thanksgiving is known for heavy spending in retail stores, but it’s clear that consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet to make their holiday purchases,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Online spending on Black Friday has historically represented an early indicator of how the rest of the season will shake out. That the 22-percent growth rate versus last year is outpacing the overall growth rate for the first three weeks of the season should be seen as a sign of positive momentum. Online retailers will also certainly be paying close attention to what happens on Cyber Monday, which will provide an even clearer indication of what lies ahead for the rest of the season.

Fulgoni said that the Reston-Va.-based company, which measures digital data, expects that Cyber Monday sales be stronger than Black Friday’s, exceeding $700 million.

“While this would make it the heaviest online shopping day on record, we can expect to see even stronger days ahead as the 2007 shopping season progresses into December,” Fulgoni said.

The hottest category continues to be video games, consoles & accessories, which is up 134 percent versus the corresponding days last year. The furniture, appliances & equipment category (up 36 percent) is joined by consumer electronics (up 21 percent) and sport & fitness as the retail categories demonstrating above average growth, comScore said. Apparel & accessories is now growing in line with the overall trend in online retail following a soft start to the season when warm weather dampened winter apparel sales. Online sales of toys are up just 9 percent for the season-to-date, with toy safety concerns appearing to be weighing down the category.