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Cyber Monday rules U.S. commerce with $1.25B in sales

The Monday after Thanksgiving is officially the biggest online spending day of the year; sales jumped 22 percent over the same day last year.

Cyber Monday officially rules the U.S. online-shopping season, racking up $1.25 billion in sales yesterday--a 22 percent increase over the previous year, according to ComScore data.

Monday's spending reflected both an 11 percent increase in the number of people shopping online and a significant jump in how much they spent. More than 10 million people bought something online yesterday, the online-marketing research firm said. Those shoppers made an average of 1.9 purchases apiece, in total worth an average of nearly $125--a 9 percent increase over per capita spending on Cyber Monday 2010.

The ComScore data differs slightly from Cyber Monday numbers IBM released earlier today. Big Blue reported that online sales were up 33 percent yesterday over 2010 and that the average consumer spent $198.26--just 2.6 percent more than the previous year.

As ComScore has observed ever since Cyber Monday was so dubbed in 2005, roughly half of yesterday's online spending originated from work computers. Much of the remainder--43.2 percent, ComScore calculates, with eerie precision--involved buying from home. Another 6.6 percent of sales represented purchases at U.S. Web sites from international locations.

Oddly, ComScore doesn't break out sales from mobile devices, which obviously wouldn't fit neatly into that home/work dichotomy. I put in a call to ComScore VP for industry analysis Andrew Lipsman for an explanation and will update if I hear back from him.

Cyber Monday spending has risen dramatically since the day earned its sobriquet in 2005 ComScore

It's probably worth noting, though, that the phenomenon of "Cyber Monday" is largely attributable to the notion that Americans get so fired up by Black Friday promotions the day after Thanksgiving that they continue shopping madly from their work computers the following Monday. Some of the unstated assumptions here--that you have to head to the office to get a high-speed Internet connection, for instance, or that no one shops using smartphones or tablets--might be ready for a rethink, to put it mildly.

IBM, by contrast, reported that 10.8 percent of yesterday's online-shopping traffic originated from mobile devices. Precisely 6.6 percent of sales were made using smartphones or tablets, Big Blue said.

Individual tales of retail success aren't hard to find. Microsoft, for instance, bragged earlier today that it sold nearly 1 million units of the Xbox 360 during the week of Black Friday and more than three-quarters of a million Kinect sensors (including both standalone and bundled units).