Today might be Cyber Monday - the ‘Black Friday’ of online shopping - but it’s obvious shoppers no longer wait for either day as Thanksgiving is now a big draw with brick-and-mortar stores opening early and websites offering deals, according to two new surveys.
Data from both comScore, a research firm, and the National Retail Federation show that Thanksgiving Day is now a growing draw for shoppers. In fact, comScore says online shopping on Turkey Day leaped 32 percent over last year to account for $6.3 billion in sales. The National Retail Federation shows similar data.
"Of all the benchmark spending days, Thanksgiving is growing at the fastest rate, up 128 percent over the last five years," said Andrew Lipsman, a spokesman with comScore.
Overall, it appears to have been a good shopping season so far for stores and websites, with sales from both now intertwined. The comScore data indicate that in-stores sales on Black Friday ebbed a bit from last year, but that overall spending was up 26 percent when both brick-and-mortar and online shopping was combined.
And the National Retail Federation reports spending grew over the entire weekend as compared to last year. The average shopper spent $423 over this holiday weekend (starting Thursday), up from $398 last year. That translates to $59.1 billion.
Among the other trends:
• Non-gifts are a big draw. In other words, many people are taking advantage of steep discounts to buy for themselves, rather than others. Almost 80 percent of those buying over the weekend reported they were also buying gifts for themselves, according to the National Retail Federation.
• The fastest growing segment of the retail category is “digital content,” according to comScore. In fact, digital content and subscriptions accounted for an almost 30 percent rise in sales compared to the 2011 holiday shopping season. Digital content includes books, video, and audio downloads and subscriptions.
• Mobile devices are being used more and more for shopping. These include smart phones, tablets and e-readers.
Those trends are likely to continue today with Cyber Monday, which was coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed online sales spiked on the Monday following Thanksgiving.
It's estimated that this year's Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row.
According to comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers have ramped up their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.
Amazon.com, which started its Cyber Monday deals at midnight, is offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart is offering 75 percent off all of its diamond earrings and $60 off a 12-in-1 multigame table on sale for $89.99.
How well retailers fare today will offer insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.
But as other days become popular for online shopping, Cyber Monday may lose some of its cache. Even though Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day this year, industry watchers say it could just be a matter of time before other days take that ranking.
Could it be Thanksgiving?
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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