Services & Software

Cyber Monday crowned biggest Web shopping day in U.S. history

Data from IBM shows online shopping jumped 30 percent over last year, as mobile spending surged 70 percent. ComScore, meanwhile, puts the Cyber Monday dollar figure at nearly $1.5 billion.

IBM's infographic on Cyber Monday 2012 spending.

Cyber Monday this year took the trophy for the biggest online shopping day ever in the U.S.

ComScore reported that U.S. online spending on Cyber Monday 2012 reached $1.465 billion, up 17 percent from a year ago, "representing the heaviest online spending day in [U.S.] history and the second day this season (in addition to Black Friday) to surpass $1 billion in sales."

Breaking the total down, ComScore said that the top category for sales was digital content and subscriptions (up 28 percent), followed by consumer electronics (up 24 percent and "buoyed by gains in smartphone sales"), computer hardware (up 22 percent, boosted by tablet sales), video games, consoles and accessories (up 18 percent) and jewelry and watches (up 17 percent).

Meanwhile, IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative crunched data from 500 online retailers and concluded that Internet sales rose 30 percent over 2011's Cyber Monday.

"With an increase in online sales across multiple channels, the digital consumer took center stage," IBM said in a blog post.

The biggest growth was seen in mobile sales, which rose by 70 percent over last year. According to IBM, more than 18 percent of consumers used a mobile device to shop and 13 percent of all sales were done via a tablet or smartphone. PayPal also crunched its mobile shopping numbers and saw a 190 percent increase in global mobile payment on this year's Cyber Monday compared with 2011.

Despite the massive spending surge, IBM's data suggests Cyber Monday's growth rate is slowing -- last year, online sales rose by 33 percent. One of the reasons that the numbers show a slow down may be because some retailers offer deals that last longer than the one-day shopping blitz. Some online sales have extended through the entire week that commences on Cyber Monday and some have seeped back to Black Friday.

The days following Thanksgiving are some of the key shopping times for everything from laptops to tennis shoes. Shoppers spent a record $1.042 billion online during this year's Black Friday with some 57.3 million people visiting online retail sites, according to data from ComScore. That's an 18 percent increase over last year but still lower than this year's Cyber Monday, which saw online sales up more than 36 percent over Black Friday.

Adobe also released data today on Cyber Monday's numbers. Based on information from large retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, Adobe concluded that sales increased by 17 percent to $1.98 billion, but again was slower than 2011, which saw an 18 percent rise in sales. However, looking at just money spent, this year still surpasses the $1.25 billion consumers spent online during last year's Cyber Monday.

"Online shoppers opened up their wallets in a big way today as spending soared off the charts, crowning Cyber Monday 2012 as the busiest online shopping day in history," Adobe's Tamara Gaffney wrote in a blog post.

Update November 28 at 8:18 a.m. PT: Added ComScore's numbers for Cyber Monday. Updated November 30 to clarify headline to reflect U.S. sales.