Black Friday & Cyber Monday: retail crunch time

Now that Cyber Monday and Black Friday (and presumably a whole lot of gluttony) are behind us – let’s talk about the numbers.

In backwards chronological order, let’s start with Cyber Monday, which is inherently more relevant to us, the e-tailers of the world. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, online sales in the U.S. rose 19 percent, coming in as the biggest Internet shopping day of the year so far, according to research firm Coremetrics. The research firm also found that the average order climbed 8.3 percent to $194.89 and sales of luxury goods rose 24 percent.

According to ComScore, this Cyber Monday was the biggest in history. Revenue on Monday increased 16 percent over last year (a number slightly different from that reported by Coremetrics), when sales reached $887 million the same day, showed the research. The number of buyers on Monday grew 4 percent to 9 million, while average spending per person increased 12 percent to $114.24. The average transaction was $60.05 and buyers made an average of 1.90 purchases each during the day, according to an article published in Women’s Wear Daily.

The same Bloomberg article also cited deep discounts that online retailers boasted on their sites as part of Monday’s plan of attack. For instance, Amazon posted hundreds of Cyber Monday deals, including one for a 47-inch TV from Vizio Inc. for $599, which regularly sells for $998. But the online shopping surely wasn’t limited to Cyber Monday…

As for Black Friday, online sales weren’t so shabby there either. In fact, they make the Cyber Monday numbers look puny in comparison. According to projections by the National Retail Federation, American shoppers spent $45 billion in physical retail shops during Black Friday weekend from November 26 to Sunday, November 28. The NRF also reported that the number of people who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled this year from 3.3 percent last year to 9.5 percent in 2010 and by 4 a.m. nearly one-fourth (24.0%) of Black Friday shoppers were already at the stores.

According to ComScore, a Virginia-based researcher, sales over the Internet on Nov. 26 tallied $648 million, a 9 percent increase from the corresponding day a year earlier.

What does it all mean? Well, retailers are off to a decent start. While the numbers sound big, they aren’t earth shattering. But online retailers seem to be doing swell. Overall e-commerce traffic this season is up 13 percent, according to ComScore, which is no small thing. And not to mention an increase in mobile shopping, which increased 310 percent on Black Friday compared to 2009 – surely thanks to our omnipresent smartphones and of course, the iPad.

There’s still almost a month before Christmas so retailers should take heed of these positive trends and grow those online numbers even more.