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Online Buyers Flock to Thanksgiving, Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is the biggest online holiday spending day so far this year.

Once Americans had their fill of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, many headed for the couch, but it wasn’t for the usual Thanksgiving Day nap.

Instead, on the day that used to be reserved for friends and family, and the day after, consumers were busy gobbling up online deals and spending a lot of money. In fact, online shoppers are estimated to have spent $633 million on Thanksgiving—a 32-percent increase compared to a year ago, according to researcher comScore.

“Thanksgiving Day, which has historically been a lighter online holiday shopping day, continues to gain steam, and grew well ahead of the current pace, as more consumers opted to kick off their holiday shopping immediately after the big meal to take advantage of aggressive retailer promotions,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman.

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and a traditionally busy shopping day, consumers shelled out about $1.042 billion online—a 26-percent increase compared to 2011—making Black Friday the busiest online holiday shopping day so far this year, comScore adds.

The research firm notes that about 57 million Americans visited a retail site on Black Friday. Amazon was the top retail destination. Walmart was second; Best Buy took the No. 3 spot, and Target and Apple rounded out the top five.

Buyers go mobile

Shoppers also headed to eBay to make their holiday purchases on Thanksgiving and Black Friday—many of them with their mobile devices, eBay reports. On Thanksgiving, mobile sales were up 133 percent on the marketplace, compared to a year ago. On Black Friday, that number jumped to a 153-percent year-over-year increase.

Payment processor PayPal also saw a jump in mobile users. It saw a 173-percent increase in the number of buyers shopping via a mobile device on Thanksgiving, compared to 2011. On Black Friday, it saw a 193-percent increase, year over year, says Claudia Lombana, PayPal’s shopping specialist. On both days, noon to 1 p.m. PST proved to be the busiest shopping time.

Buyers in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York were the busiest mobile shoppers on Black Friday, she adds.

With the Thanksgiving weekend now in the books, Cyber Monday takes center stage, and experts are watching.

“[We] look forward with anticipation to Cyber Monday, which, according to norms we’ve observed over the past three years, should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season, with sales approaching $1.5 billion or even higher,” Fulgoni reports.

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About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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