Online retailers are beginning to chip away at the hegemony of their bricks-and-mortar brethren when it comes to raking in the green from Black Friday sales. Online sales on what traditionally is bricks-and-mortar's busy day reached $816 million this year (excluding travel), up 26 percent from $648 million in 2010 according to comScore, a research company that measures Web use. Thanksgiving Day itself was no slouch, either, with online sales of $479 million, a bump of 18 percent from the previous year.
Though that's only a drop in the bucket compared to record offline sales of $11.4 billion, it does show that ecommerce is showing solid growth when it comes to sharing the wealth from holiday spending, according to eMarketer, a market research firm.
"The rush online during the Thanksgiving weekend is gradually diluting the significance of traditional Black Friday in-store shopping," said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer's principal analyst. "More consumers are electing to shop online from home and avoid the crowds at the stores. Meanwhile retailers are offering some of their best deals online earlier in the holiday shopping season, effectively turning Black Friday into Black November."
Online is also gaining share-of-wallet. According to the National Retail Federation, the average holiday shopper spent $398.62 both online and offline this Black Friday weekend, up from $365.34 last year. Average Web spending per shopper was $150.53, or 37.8 percent of the total, according to a survey by BIGresearch.
"The Internet is increasingly playing a central role in holiday shopping ," Grau said. "Not only are consumers shifting more of their holiday spending from store to the Web, but they are relying more heavily on the Internet, such as by going to Black Friday sites, to help them make smarter in-store purchase decisions."
Overall, eMarketer foresees a profitable holiday sales season for online retailers, with a predicted growth of 16.8 percent to $46.7 billion.
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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.