Black Friday sales swell, mostly online

Posted by Mark Raby

Retailers rejoiced this past weekend as Black Friday sales jumped ahead of last year's numbers, but it was mostly due to a huge increase in online sales.

Even though Black Friday is supposed to be the big day for brick-and-mortar locations, sales placed online during the shopping holiday were 26% above those of last year, according to research firm Comscore.

"Despite some analysts' predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce," Comscore chairman Gian Fulgoni said.

But physical retail stores also saw gains. According to a Shoppertrak report, sales at brick-and-mortar storefronts were 7% ahead of what they took in last year.

To put this into perspective, the dollar amount that brick-and-mortar stores saw was $11.4 billion, while online sales came in at $816 million. It's easy for the latter to grow so heavily when there is clearly still a huge amount of room for growth.

This is a sign not only that the economy is slowly improving, but also that e-commerce is becoming a more significant part of the shopping season.

The real deal, though, will be today. Affably known as Cyber Monday, the first weekday after the Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

Nearly 123 million Americans are expected to buy something online today, and if true that would be a 15% rise over last year. But Cyber Monday is not the most popular online shopping day of the year. That title usually goes to one or two Mondays before Christmas.