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Online buying actually rose on Black Friday

Nov. 28, 2010

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According to various preliminary reports that have started coming in, online spending on Black Friday actually increased almost sixteen percent compared with Black Friday in 2009, with social networking sites gaining momentum as a source for shopping advice. Also, MIDs (mobile Internet devices) played an increasingly important role as well.

And according to additional numbers supplied from Coremetrics, which gathered data from the sites of more than 500 retailers in the U.S. including Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Petco, online sales were up 15.9 percent, with the average order value rising about $20, from $170.19 to $190.80.

Coremetrics said that, although the percentage of online shoppers arriving at retail websites from social networking sites was still relatively small, the phenomenon was gaining momentum, with Facebook at the top of the list.

The company said shoppers were using sites like Facebook to find out about deals and inventory levels. It also said the slice of shoppers arriving at sites via mobile devices also jumped almost 27 percent year-over-year.

Also, it's important to note that Coremetrics pointed to a new trend, saying "surgical shopping" seemed to be widespread, with people checking out 18 percent fewer products on sites than they did a year ago--an indication that they target a specific product rather than just browsing through a site, looking around for a good deal.

And health and beauty, and department-store sites saw encouraging figures as well. On average, eCommerce shoppers spent almost eighteen percent more time in virtual department stores, and health and beauty retailers reported a 73.2 percent increase in first-time buyers year over year, and a 53.5 percent increase in the number of visits in which shoppers actually clicked away with a purchase.

Overall, such good numbers weren't expected by some eCommerce analysts, and were viewed as encouraging.

"We're watching online retail, and increasingly social media and mobile, become the growth engines for retailers everywhere, as consumers embrace online shopping not only for its ease and convenience, but as a primary means of researching goods and services," John Squire, the company's chief strategy officer, said in a statement.

Nevertheless, eCommerce shopping has yet to conquer the cash register. According to the Associated Press, online deals still account for just between 8 percent and 10 percent of holiday spending.

Overall, researcher ShopperTrak said Black Friday sales figures for brick-and-mortar stores barely registered an increase over 2009, rising a mere 0.3 percent. But the company said that the message was mixed because numbers for the first two weeks of November were unexpectedly strong--a rise of about 6 percent year over year.

"Also, a rather high percentage of retailers concentrated on pushing folks to their Websites with various online-only sales, which most likely influenced Black Friday performance as well," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said in a statement.

Source: Coremetrics.

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