American consumers jammed online shopping sites on Monday, the official start of the holiday season for e-tailers, resulting in robust sales, according to an Internet research company.
ComScore Inc. reported on Tuesday that consumers spent $733 million online on Monday, a 21 percent gain from the same day a year ago. ComScore had expected that sales would exceed the $700 million figure.
While the first Monday after Thanksgiving kicks off the online holiday shopping season, it's not the busiest day for retailers, according to comScore. Last year, the busiest online shopping day was Wednesday, Dec. 13, generating $667 million in sales. The Monday after Thanksgiving was actually the 12th busiest day in terms of sales for the 2006 holiday period.
Nevertheless, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday, represents the first big sales surge, as consumers return to their office and click on their computers to shop. ComScore said that Monday's sales results represented an 84 percent jump from the average daily online spending totals during the preceding four weeks.
ComScore reported that the number of online buyers rose 38 percent from a year ago. But the average of dollars spent per buyer was down 12 percent. In a statement, comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said that he believes that deeper and broader price discounts depressed sales. He also noted that "new Cyber Monday buyers" tended to spend less online than returning buyers.
More than $10.7 billion has been spent online from Nov. 1 through Nov. 26, marking a 17 percent gain from the corresponding days last year, comScore said.