US$1b record set by US shoppers for online Black Friday sales
US shoppers spent heavily online on the crucial Black Friday shopping day, for the first time topping US$1 billion in online sales in a single day.
The four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend is the kick-off to the US holiday shopping season, and Black Friday has long been considered the critical day that turns retailers' books from red to black.
Consumer spending makes up more than two thirds of US economic activity. So the short but busiest consumer sales season has a huge importance to the US economy for the whole year.
This year, online shoppers spent a total of $1.04 billion on Friday, surpassing last year's Black Friday haul by 26 per cent, according to the consulting firm ComScore.
A total of 57.3 million Americans visited online retail sites, representing an increase of 18 per cent versus a year ago, the firm said.
It said Amazon.com ranked as the most visited online retail site on the day.
Another study by IMB Benchmark Digital Analytics saw an increase of 21 per cent in internet sales, with a surge in orders of mobile devices and tablet computers, in particular.
But the new record might be short-lived.
Next up was Cyber Monday, the day Americans go back to work and online retailers launch heavy promotions to reel in more shoppers.
"According to norms we've observed over the past three years," retail analyst ShopperTrak said, the Monday after Thanksgiving "should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season with sales approaching US$1.5 billion or even higher".