Not waiting until Cyber Monday, online shoppers made Black Friday the biggest online spending day of the year so far.
On Black Friday -- the marketing term given for the day after Thanksgiving, generally one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season -- online sales topped $1 billion for the first time, hitting $1.042 billion, according to online tracker comScore.
Since Nov. 1 -- the date retail analysts consider the start of the holiday shopping season -- online shoppers have spent $13.7 billion, according to comScore. That's a 16% increase over the online sales total during the same days in November of last year.
"Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the e-commerce channel, particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. "With Black Friday online sales up 26% and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8%, we can now confidently call it a multichannel marketing phenomenon."
ComScore also noted that 57.3 million Americans visited online stores on Black Friday, an 18% increase over the same day in 2011.
According to a report from the National Retail Federation, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the three-day post-Thanksgiving weekend, up from 226 million last year. The report also noted that the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, or about 40.7% of their total weekend spending, up slightly from 37.8% in 2011.
Thanksgiving itself is even picking up steam as a major shopping day.
While some retail stories opened for business on Thanksgiving this year, figures show that a growing number of Americans ate turkey, did the dishes and then shopped online. According to comScore, online shoppers spent $633 million on Thanksgiving Day, a 32% increase over last year's $479 million.
ComScore expects today, which is known as Cyber Monday because of the number of people who spend part of their workday shopping online, to generate huge numbers.
Fulgoni said Cyber Monday sales are expected to approach or surpass $1.5 billion.
Amazon.com was the most visited online retail site on Black Friday, followed by the websites of Walmart, BestBuy, Target and Apple.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin and on Google+, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.