The online holiday shopping season is off to a good start.
Online researcher comScore reported Sunday that U.S. online shoppers spent $648 million on Black Friday alone. Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving, is the official kickoff to the lucrative holiday shopping season.
Black Friday this year was the heaviest online spending day to date in 2010, according to comScore. It also saw a 9% increase in online spending compared to the same day in 2009.
"Although Black Friday is known for the flurry of activity occurring in brick-and-mortar retail stores, online shopping is increasingly becoming the refuge of those preferring to avoid the crowds and long lines," said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, in a statement. "Interestingly, we are also seeing consumers beginning to buy online in a more meaningful way on Thanksgiving Day, which has historically seen low buying activity."
The uptick in e-commerce last Friday bodes well for comScore's prediction last week that online holiday spending in the U.S. will increase by 11% this year.
So, where were online shoppers spending their money last Friday?
According to comScore, many of them were shopping at Amazon.com, which saw a 25% increase in unique U.S. visitors to its site on Black Friday compared to the same day last year.
Actually, Amazon.com and three other sites - Walmart, Target and BestBuy - all surpassed 4 million unique visitors on Black Friday.
However, not all of them faired as well as Amazon.com. Target saw a 9% increase in unique visitors and BestBuy saw a 1% increase. Walmart had a 1% decrease, according to comScore.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.