For a second consecutive year, Americans spent a huge amount of time -- and money -- sitting in front of their computers on Turkey Day. ComScore reported that desktop e-commerce on Thanksgiving Day totaled $1.096 billion, the second consecutive year that desktop spending surpassed the billion-dollar mark. That represented a 9 percent lift from last year’s total of $1.009 billion, the first billion-dollar total in history.
“Thanksgiving has established itself as one of the more important online buying days,” Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman emeritus, said in a statement accompanying the numbers.
Spending via Internet on Black Friday inched up this year as well, rising from $1.505 billion 2014 to $1.656 billion this year, according to the same comScore report.
The gains seen on both days are part of a broader trend of holiday shoppers getting their gifts online, rather than from stores. The retail researcher ShopperTrak reported Sunday that Black Friday sales fell more than $1 billion at brick-and-mortar locations this year, from $11.6 billion to $10.4 billion.
A shift away from stationary computers also is evident. One report said half of Web traffic on shopping sites like Amazon during the holiday shopping weekend came from mobile devices, a category that includes both smartphones and tablets.
But even though people do a majority of their digital window-shopping by phones -- up from just 4 percent in 2010, according to Mobile Marketer -- mobile continues to lag behind desktop as a place where people actually purchase things: Separate research from Adobe found that just one-third of the weekend’s online buying happened on mobile devices.
This broader change in shopper behavior may explain the decline in violent clashes among shoppers, which have become a gruesome sideshow to Black Friday in recent years; seven people have died and nearly 100 others have been injured on Black Friday since 2008. Last year, a brawl that erupted inside a Kohl’s in Tustin, California, led to three arrests, and another shopper was hit by a car outside a Walmart in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. A Walmart employee in Long Island, New York, died in a Black Friday shopper stampede in 2008.
The biggest manifestation of this shift will be seen Monday when Americans open up their wallets for Cyber Monday. In Sunday’s statement, Fulgoni said comScore predicted total desktop e-commerce spending during Cyber Monday to total $2.5 billion.
But regardless of where or how they shop, the data show Americans take the start of the holiday shopping season very seriously. According to research published by the National Retail Federation, more than half of all U.S. consumers -- 151 million people -- shopped on Black Friday, spending an average of $299 each.