U.S. consumers purchased more than $20.4 billion worth of goods during the first 30 days of the 2012 holiday shopping season, according to marketing research firm comScore Inc.
Starting on Nov. 1 and ending on Nov. 30, shoppers purchased 15 percent more goods and services online this year than last year.
The amount spent during the period was far better than expected, especially on Thanksgiving Day, when sales increased 35 percent this year over 2011. That was not a huge surprise given the increase in promotion and marketing this year for Thanksgiving Day shopping.
Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving, dubbed Black Friday, is a big sales day. But retailers have pushed promotions earlier in an effort to lure cash-strapped shoppers.
Sales on three days topped $1 billion, including the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, popularly known as Cyber Monday. The following two days—Tuesday and Wednesday of that week—also topped $1 billion in sales each day.
“Cyber Monday kicked off Cyber Week with a record spending total of $1.46 billion, but the ‘sugar high’ appears to be somewhat short-lived,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni in a statement.
“In addition, unseasonably warm weather throughout many parts of the country may have given consumers some added impetus to shop in-store rather than rely on online shopping.”
The research firm said that digital content and subscriptions and toys were products experiencing the biggest year-over-year sales gains.
Convenience to shop from smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices played a key role in this year’s online sales boost. According to a Nov. 27 study by IBM, more than 18 percent of shoppers accessed a retailer website via a mobile device.
Many retailers, such as eBay Inc., have developed mobile applications to make the mobile shopping experience more accessible for consumers.
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