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Cyber Monday, Biggest Online Spending Day In History: Shopping Has Changed


Comcast's just published its survey of consumer spending for the Cyber Monday that's just passed: It was the single biggest day ever for shopping online, the first to surpass a billion dollars in U.S. spending. It proves shopping has changed forever.

According to ComScore's research, November 2010 saw $13.6 billion dollars of e-commerce from U.S. consumers, up 13% on the same figure for last year. Cyber Monday itself, which is largely an "invented" sales window, brought to us by the rise of the Internet, became the biggest online shopping day ever with $1.03 billion dollars being spent—the first day to beat the billion dollar-a-day figure. 

The Cyber Monday boom was possible since buyers spent more on average than they did last year (12% more) and the total number of buyers rose by 4%, to 9 million people. Consumers even spent more on average per transaction (up 10%) meaning that the sales figure wasn't being distorted by one or two particular special deals, and they performed more transactions—up 6% versus 2009. This means they're really embracing the idea of Cyber Monday itself. To put the figure in context, online spending on Black Friday—the traditional sales holiday—was around $648 million dollars, or about two thirds of Cyber Monday's total, and up only 9% versus last year. True, Black Friday is traditionally a day for in-store sales, but the trend is undeniable.

Since most folk return to work after Thanksgiving on Monday, it means people are spending all this money from the comfort of their desks (Comscore's data backs this up).

And all this means one big thing: Shopping has changed. Forever. The way that stores can promote sales and that consumers can quickly access the deals, even without having to risk a trip to the mall (with the hassles of driving, parking and so on) through online channels has really changed our world. A little bit, for sure, but it's a sign that the upcoming holiday season is also going to be a cyber-spending spree. And next year's figures will only get bigger too—if only because more of us will be carrying smartphones, and the ability to shop online (exemplified by Amazon's iPhone app) now fits in your pocket.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.