Black Friday and Thanksgiving online sales in the United States surged to record highs as shoppers bagged deep discounts and bought more on their mobile devices, Reuters reports, citing data from retail analytics firms.
Retailers raked in a record US$7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9 percent from a year ago, Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 US web retailers, was quoted as saying.
According to Adobe, Cyber Monday is expected to drive US$6.6 billion in internet sales, which would make it the largest US online shopping day in history.
In the run-up to the holiday weekend, traditional retailers invested heavily in improving their websites and bulking up delivery options, preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores.
TVs, laptops, toys and gaming consoles – particularly the PlayStation 4 – were among the most heavily discounted and the biggest sellers, according to retail analysts and consultants.
Commerce marketing firm Criteo said 40 percent of Black Friday online purchases were made on mobile phones, up from 29 percent last year.
No brick-and-mortar sales data for Thanksgiving or Black Friday was immediately available, but Reuters reporters and industry analysts noted anecdotal signs of muted activity in that segment.
Stores offered heavy discounts, creative gimmicks and free gifts to draw bargain hunters out of their homes, but some shoppers said they were just browsing the merchandise, reserving their cash for internet purchases.
However, retail research firm ShopperTrak said store traffic fell less than 1 percent on Black Friday, bucking industry predictions of a sharper decline.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), which had predicted strong holiday sales helped by rising consumer confidence, said on Friday that fair weather across much of the nation had helped draw shoppers into stores.
The NRF, whose overall industry sales data is closely watched each year, is scheduled to release Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales numbers on Tuesday.
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