November 27, 2010, 1:02 PM

Black Friday 2010: a red-letter day for e-retailers

Online sales were up 15.9% on the day after Thanksgiving, Coremetrics says.

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Online sales were up 15.9% from a year ago on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, as shoppers spent more money and bought more holiday gifts online, according to Coremetrics, a web analytics technology provider that is part of IBM. Other e-commerce technology vendors and e-retailers also reported sales gains well into double digits.

The average order value on Black Friday was $190.80, up from $170.19 last year, says Coremetrics, based on sales from some 500 client e-retailers. Consumers also added more products to each order; the average number of items per order grew 37% from 5.4 last year to 7.4 this year. The online conversion rate rose on Friday to 35.2% from 34.6% a year ago. Mobile also played a role in Friday sales. 5.6% of people logged onto a retailer’s site using a mobile device.

The data also indicate that shoppers had their shopping list at the ready. At nine p.m. on Thanksgiving night consumers logged more than 15.4 million page views in one hour on ShopLocal’s circular sites, according to the company. ShopLocal is a vendor that distributes retailers’ online circulars.

The number of page views and product views per session dropped significantly from last year, according to Coremetrics data. Page views dropped 7.4% and product views dropped 17.97%.

Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing at e-commerce technology provider GSI Commerce, says shoppers were able to move quickly to get what they wanted this year because e-retailers posted Friday’s sale information early.  “E-retailers have become efficient and consumers have become efficient,” she says. “You didn’t have to wake up on Friday and then decide what you were going to buy. Sites had it listed and people were waiting to buy it. Consumers knew exactly what they wanted.”

Dias says Friday sales at GSI client sites were solid, without providing details, and followed a typical pattern of spiking in the middle of the day as doorbuster sales at bricks-and-mortar stores ran out and people went online. She says GSI’s systems processed 797 orders in its peak minute on Thursday night, which broke the single-minute record of 789 orders set last year on the Monday after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Cyber Monday.

ChannelAdvisor Corp. says its clients processed $23.1 million in gross merchandise value on Friday, a 34.7% increase from a year ago. Channel Advisor helps e-retailers manage their presence in online marketplaces, paid search and comparison shopping engines. It says e-retailers’ marketplace same-store-sales through Amazon grew 82.3% on Friday. E-retailers on eBay grew 16.5%.

Mercent, which provides similar marketing services to online retailers as ChannelAdvisor, says its same-seller sales were up 77% from the day after Thanksgiving last year. Mercent retailers sold 105% more on the Amazon marketplace and 69% more through Google Product Search, the search engine's shopping portal.

Buy.com, No. 32 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, says its Black Friday sales grew more than 45% from last year, its best Black Friday performance to date. “Our initial holiday results point to a strong start of the season,” says Neel Grover, CEO and president of Buy.com.

Meanwhile, online payment processor PayPal, a unit of eBay, reported a 27% increase in payment volume versus Black Friday 2009, and a 310% increase in payments from mobile phones.

Payment processor Retail Decisions estimates e-retailers completed 25.8 million transactions on Black Friday. The company says the peak hour for online sales was between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.

 

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