ARMONK, N.Y.: Cyber Monday web sales topped $1.25 billion, making it the heaviest online spending day in history and the second day on record to surpass the billion-dollar threshold.
According to market research firm comScore, spending surged 22 percent over Cyber Monday 2010, the previous record holder.
"Cyber Monday was yet another historic day for e-commerce," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "It will be interesting to watch the next couple of weeks to see if any future individual days in 2011 manage to leapfrog this year's highest day-to-date."
comScore's findings jibe with reports from CE merchants including Abt Electronics, which enjoyed a 21 percent surge in online sales and a record 29 percent increase in traffic on Cyber Monday. On average, Abt's online customers spent 14 percent more this year than last, with tablets, LED TVs, digital cameras, upright vacuums and headphones leading the sales charge, president Jon Abt said.
eBay similarly reported a flurry of sales activity on Cyber Monday, with many deals selling out within hours of posting. Among them: the 16GB Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi in white, on sale for $450, which was purchased at a rate of four units per minute and sold out in less than two hours.
In a separate report, IBM pegged Cyber Monday sales growth even higher. The company's Smarter Commerce service said total online sales soared 33 percent year over year, exceeding Black Friday web purchases by 29.3 percent, as average order value increased 2.6 percent year over year to $198.26.
IBM also found that mobile devices played an increasingly important role in Monday's tallies. According to the company's fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark report, nearly 11 percent of shoppers used a mobile device to visit e-tail sites, up from 3.9 percent in 2010. This helped spur a 187 percent increase in mobile channel share, to 6.6 percent of all Cyber Monday purchases.
The move to mobile was also evidenced by eBay, which reported a 397 percent increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal Mobile on Cyber Monday.
According to IBM, Apple's iPhone and iPad remained the two top devices for mobile traffic on Monday, together accounting for 7.4 percent of all online visits vs. 3.2 percent for all Android devices.
But when it came to mobile purchases, iPad was the No. 1 platform of choice, with conversion rates reaching 5.2 percent, compared with 4.6 percent for all other devices, IBM said.
Still, total mobile sales were higher on Black Friday (9.8 percent of all web purchases) than Cyber Monday (6.6 percent), as was mobile traffic (14.3 percent vs. 10.8 percent).
And despite retailers' newfound focus on social-networking sites, IBM found that sales referrals from Facebook and other forums amounted to only 0.56 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday and 0.53 percent on Black Friday. Of that, Facebook was the No. 1 social-networking site, accounting for 86 percent of all social-media traffic on Monday.
Online shopping peaked at 2:05 p.m. EST on Monday, and maintained strong momentum after commuting hours on both the East and West coasts, IBM reported.
"Cyber Monday was once again the big winner for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, with a record number of consumers focused on finding the best online deals," observed John Squire, chief strategy officer of IBM Smarter Commerce. "Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend."
IBM said it tracked more than a million transactions for its Cyber Monday Benchmark report, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 leading U.S. retailers.
Cyber Monday was created in 2005 by Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade association, as an e-commerce equivalent to Black Friday to encourage web-based sales.
~ Alan Wolf of TWICE
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