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Cyber Monday Started Early, Holiday Shopping Goes Mobile

Since 2005, Cyber Monday has traditionally signaled the start of the online holiday shopping season, but consumers this year started early, surprisingly on Thanksgiving Day.

Online shoppers doled out $407 million – a 28 percent increase from a year ago – on Thanksgiving, according to digital analysis company comScore. And on Black Friday , online shoppers spent $648 million, a 9 percent increase and the most spent over the Web in one day in 2010.

“Interestingly, we are also seeing consumers beginning to buy online in a more meaningful way on Thanksgiving Day, which has historically seen low-buying activity,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

“Although Black Friday is known for the flurry of activity occurring in brick-and-mortar retail stores, online shopping is increasingly becoming the refuge of those preferring to avoid the crowds and long lines.”

Mobile shopping

In another shift in shopping trends, more consumers are planning their shopping adventures and comparing prices using their phones. TheFind reports mobile use for shopping increased 4.6 times compared with 2009 statistics.

“In-store comparison shopping using smartphones is showing incredible growth, and progressive retailers are adjusting their strategies to account for a savvier consumer,” said Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind, which provides a search engine and mobile application for shopping and comparing prices at more than 500,000 businesses.

More Black Friday statistics

Websites devoted to displaying Black Friday deals saw significant traffic growth with Black-Friday2010.com leading the pack (up 478 percent with 1.5 million unique visitors from Nov. 22-26), comScore reports. Black-Friday.net garnered the most overall visitors with 3.1 million.

ComScore also found:

  • The number of visitors to “coupon sites” on Black Friday grew 4 percent versus year ago to 3.6 million visitors.
  • BlackFriday.info was the most visited coupon site on Black Friday with 630,000 visitors, followed by CouponCabin.com (543,000), RetailMeNot.com (332,000 visitors) and Groupon.com (332,000).
  • ShopLocal.com ranked as the most visited comparison shopping site on Black Friday with 2.1 million visitors, up 45 percent.

Four retailers surpassed four million U.S. visitors on Black Friday. Amazon Sites was the most visited on Black Friday – up 25 percent – followed by Walmart, Target Corporation and Best Buy Sites.

“We will be watching closely to see if the leading online retailer is able to sustain this momentum through Cyber Monday and into the heart of the online shopping season ,” Fulgoni said in a statement.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.