Black Friday online sales hit record high

Posted by Emma Woollacott

US shoppers spent 20 percent more on Black Friday than they did last year, with mobile purchases showing a particular boom.

According to IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark, nearly a quarter of consuners visited a website using a mobile device, up from 14.3 percent last year. More than sixteen percent went on to make a purchase.

Meanwhile, ComScore figures show a US online spend of $1.042 billion during the day, up 26 percent from Black Friday last year, with Amazon getting the most visits.

"With Black Friday online sales up 26 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it a multi-channel marketing phenomenon," says ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day – which has historically been a lighter online holiday shopping day – continues to gain steam and grew well ahead of the current pace as more consumers opted to kick off their holiday shopping immediately after the big meal to take advantage of aggressive retailer promotions."

The iPad accounted for nearly 10 percent of online shopping, says IBM, followed by the iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android devices at 5.5 percent. In fact, the iPad dominated tablet traffic overwhelmingly, at 88.3 percent. The Barnes and Noble Nook came in at 3.1 percent, the Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.

But in bad news for Facebook, shoppers referred from social networks  generated just 0.34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a fall of more than 35 percent from 2011.    

"This year's holiday shopper was hungry for great deals and retailers didn't disappoint, rolling out compelling offers which consumers gobbled up on Thanksgiving straight through Black Friday," says Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce.

"The big winners were chief marketing officers who used technology to deliver customer experiences that not only connected shoppers with personalized deals but did so at the right touchpoint and at precisely the right time and place, whether on their couch or the store floor."