Online Thanksgiving spend soars in the US

Online Thanksgiving spend soars in the US

'Cyber Monday' expected to be even stronger than 'Black Friday'

Online retail spending in the US outpaced the seasonal rate as consumers flocked to the internet ahead of Thanksgiving weekend.

E-commerce spending on 22 November was up 29 per cent to $272m, while 23 November, so-called Black Friday, saw a rise of 22 per cent to $531m, outpacing the season-to-date growth rate.

Figures from comScore suggest that more than $9.3bn has been spent online during the season to-date, marking a 17 per cent gain on the corresponding days last year.

"The Friday after Thanksgiving is known for heavy spending in retail stores, but consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to make their holiday purchases," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"Online spending on Black Friday has historically represented an early indicator of how the rest of the season will shake out, and the 22 per cent growth rate should be seen as a sign of positive momentum."

Online retailers will also be paying close attention to what happens on 26 November, so-called Cyber Monday, which should provide an even clearer indication for the rest of the season.

"Based on the growth rates so far this season, and historical consumer behaviour patterns, we would expect Cyber Monday sales to be even stronger than Black Friday's and to exceed $700m," said Fulgoni.

"While this would make it the heaviest online shopping day on record, we can expect to see even stronger days ahead as the 2007 shopping season progresses into December."

The hottest category continues to be 'video games, consoles and accessories', which is up 134 per cent on the corresponding days last year, according to comScore.

Sales of Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3, along with the hugely popular Halo 3, continue to drive growth in this category.

The 'furniture, appliances and equipment' category grew 36 per cent, while 'consumer electronics' rose 21 per cent and 'sport and fitness' demonstrated above average growth.

'Apparel and accessories' is now growing in line with the overall trend following a soft start to the season when warm weather dampened winter apparel sales.

Online sales of toys are up just nine per cent for the season to-date, as toy safety concerns appear to weigh down the category.