Amazon Leads Black Friday Online Sales

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Market analyst firm comScore reported that overall holiday sales currently total $10.57 billion since the holiday shopping season began, thus far representing a 3 percent increase from the $10.25 billion in sales made during Black Friday 2008. Meanwhile, online sales during Black Friday -- the shopping day after Thanksgiving when retailers are said to go into the black -- rose to $595 million, representing an 11 percent sales increase from Black Friday 2008 and making it the heaviest spending day to date in 2009.

ComScore executives said that this year's Black Friday totals were a "very encouraging start" to the holiday spending season.

"Black Friday, better known as a shopping bonanza in brick-and-mortar retail stores, is increasingly becoming one of the landmark days in the online holiday shopping world," said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. "The $595 million in online spending this Black Friday represents the second heaviest online spending day of the season to date and a double-digit increase from last year. While this acceleration in spending suggests the online holiday season may be shaping up slightly more optimistically than anticipated, time may also reflect the heavy discounting and creative promotions being put forth by the retailers that now encompass the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter."

The uptick in sales on Black Friday bodes well for consumer spending on Cyber Monday -- the Monday following Thanksgiving which is typically the largest online retail shopping day of the season, analysts said.

"Cyber Monday -- the traditional kick-off to the online holiday shopping season -- and the subsequent weeks will be the real test for how online retailers fare this season," Fulgoni said. by far was the most visited retail property on Black Friday, growing 28 percent from a year ago, followed by, which grew 22 percent, and Worldwide Sites, which were up 39 percent.

"Much attention has focused on Amazon and Walmart this season, and both retailers performed particularly well online on Black Friday in terms of attracting visitors," Fulgoni said. "We will be watching closely to see how these retailers perform during these next critical weeks of the season."

ComScore predicted that overall holiday online retail sales for both November and December could likely total $28.9 billion, which represents a 3 percent increase from holiday spending last year -- a gain that compensates for the 3 percent decline in holiday sales in 2008.

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