Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

You Spent $1.2 Billion Shopping Online on Black Friday

counting_moneyIf you take an increase in the rate of holiday spending as a suggestion of good economic news, then there’s a lot to like about the new numbers from comScore, the research firm that tracks the digital economy.

According to research out today, consumers shopping online spent $1.2 billion buying stuff on Black Friday.

It was the, the firm says, the first billion-dollar-plus day of the holiday season so far.

On Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent about $766 million online, up 21 percent from 2012.

Compared to last year, it’s a 15 percent improvement, or $156 million higher than the Black Friday 2012 total of $1.04 billion. Now, that’s a tricky comparison, owing to the fact that Thanksgiving fell rather late on the calendar this year versus last year.

Overall, comScore reckons that 66 million people visited online retail sites on Friday, which sounds impressive until you do the math. Assuming that each of them bought something that works out to an average transaction amount of about $18 and change.

Amazon was the king of the online retailers as the most-visited shopping site, followed by eBay, Walmart, Best Buy and Target.

The top category was apparel and accessories, accounting for 28 percent of purchases, followed by computer hardware, consumer electronics, packaged goods, and shipping services.

For the first 29 days of the season, consumers have spent $20.6 billion, an increase of about three percent over the same period last year.

But, again — the calendar! Comparing the 2013 season so far to the earlier start in 2012 (comScore started counting last year on Oct. 26), holiday spending online is up by 24 percent, from $16.5 billion.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik