Black Friday Web Spend Hits $595M; Up 11%

Black Friday Web Spend Hits $595M; Up 11%

This year’s Black Friday (November 27) saw $595 million in online sales, making it 2009′s second-heaviest online spending day to date and representing an 11% increase over Black Friday spending in 2008, according to retail e-commerce data released by comScore, Inc.

The data revealed that as of Black Friday, $10.57 billion has been spent online in November so far, marking a 3% increase vs. last year’s November days leading up to and including Black Friday.

comscore-2009-holiday-season-spending-to-date-vs-2008-november-2009.jpg

Though Black Friday online appears to be as much of a shopping bonanza as it has been in brick-and-mortar stores, there are a number of less obvious factors that may be contributing to the strong results. “While this acceleration in spending suggests the online holiday season may be shaping up slightly more optimistically than anticipated, it may also reflect the heavy discounting and creative promotions being put forth by retailers that now encompass the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter,” said  said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni, who noted that the numbers do indicate a “promising start.”

Promotions and Bargains Jump-Start Sales Activity

The number of so-called ‘Black-Friday sites’ that provide roundups and links to Black Friday deals in the lead-up to the big day are becoming more popular than ever, comScore said, adding that the online channel is becoming an increasingly influential driver in offline shopping behavior.

comScore studied eight Black Friday deal sites for the five days ending Black Friday (Nov. 23-27) compared with the corresponding days last year. It found that BFads.net led the pack with 3.9 million unique visitors, up 4% vs. last year. BlackFriday.info followed, with 3.5 million visitors, while Black-Friday.net (up 136% to 2.3 million visitors) showed the fastest growth.
comscore-unique-visitors-selected-sites-featuring-black-friday-deals-november-2009.jpg

This  Black Friday site ranking is similar, though not identical, to that reported earlier in the month by Hitwise, which found that traffic to Black Friday sites BlackFriday Info, Black Friday Ads, Walmart, Black Friday Advertisements  and Target received the most online traffic from web searches for “Black Friday” during the four weeks ended November 7, 2009.

Other comScore findings about Black-Friday deal-seeking:

  • The number of visitors to coupon sites on Black Friday grew 17% vs. a year ago, to 3.3 million visitors.
  • BlackFriday.info was the most visited coupon site on Black Friday with 748,000 unique visitors, followed by RetailMeNot.com (356,000 visitors) and Eversave.com (253,000).
  • ShopLocal.com ranked as the most visited comparison shopping site on Black Friday, with 2 million visitors, up 31%  vs. a year ago.

Amazon Tops among Online Retail Properties on Black Friday

comScore also reported that five retail properties surpassed four million US unique visitors on Black Friday, with each of these properties experiencing gains vs. last year. Amazon Sites was the most visited retail property on Black Friday, growing 28% from the corresponding shopping day a year ago, followed closely by Wal-mart, which grew 22%. Apple.com Worldwide Sites (up 39%), Target Corporation (up 2%) and Best Buy Sites (up 24%) rounded out the top five.

comscore-growth-unique-visitors-among-top-5-most-visited-retailer-properties-november-2009.jpg

“Much attention has focused on Amazon and Walmart this season, and both retailers performed particularly well online on Black Friday in terms of attracting visitors,” Fulgoni added. “We will be watching closely to see how these retailers perform during these next critical weeks of the season.”

In Experian Hitwise’s ranking of the top retail sites visited on Black Friday, Amazon, Wal-mart, Target Best Buy and Sears were ranked as the top five, in that order. Hitwise uses a different methodology to collect its data than does comScore.