US e-commerce gets a boost as online deals spread

* Highest-ever showing for online Black Friday wkend -NRF

* GSI expects to have “best holiday by far”

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK, Nov 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Online retailers could see
their best Thanksgiving weekend ever this year, as deep online
discounts, once reserved for Cyber Monday, were offered more
broadly throughout the weekend.

The term Cyber Monday was coined five years ago for the day
many people return to work after Thanksgiving and make online
gift purchases on their computers. It remains a prime shopping
day online, but its novelty has been wearing thin due to
promotions offered by online retailers earlier in the season,
including on Thanksgiving Day.

“We’ve actually never seen a Thanksgiving Day this robust
before online,” said Fiona Dias, EVP of strategy and marketing
for GSI Commerce, which operates more than 100 online stores
for retailers including Toys R Us [TOY.UL], Aeropostale Inc
(ARO.N: ) and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL.N: )

Data from analytics firm comScore (SCOR.O: ) on Sunday showed
that Thanksgiving Day, traditionally a lighter day for online
holiday spending, saw a strong 28 percent increase to $407
million this year.

“This will go down for a lot of Web retailers as the year
that Thanksgiving became the true start of the shopping
weekend. A lot of people thought of Black Friday as the retail
day and Cyber Monday as the Web day, but I think we’ve proven
that Thanksgiving can be a pretty big Web day as well.”
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For a graphic on Black Friday traffic and holiday sales:

http:/r.reuters.com/dyk66q

Reuters Insider reports: [ID:nRTV166827] [ID:nRTV161989]

For other holiday retail stories [ID:nUSHOLIDAY]

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For example, retail leader Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: ) is
offering “Cyber Week” specials including a Viore 24″ LED
high-definition television for $199 and a Hot Wheels Turbo Town
Mega Garage playset, made by Mattel Inc (MAT.O: ), for $29.

GSI’s busiest moment last year was late on Cyber Monday,
when the company logged 789 orders across all of its sites in a
single minute. It already surpassed that this year, at 11:27
p.m. on Thanksgiving, when it logged 797 orders.

“We clearly believe that for us and the hundred sites we
have, it’ll be the best holiday we’ve had by far,” Dias said.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 33.6
percent of people who went shopping during the four-day Black
Friday weekend which kicks off the holiday shopping season
shopped online. That is a 15 percent increase from a year ago.

The amount they spent is up as well. The trade group
estimates that out of the $365.34 spent by the average consumer
this weekend, $121.67, or 33.3 percent, was spent online. That
is up from 30.2 percent last year.

“I believe that’s the highest number we’ve seen since we’ve
been conducting the survey,” said NRF spokeswoman Ellen Davis.

Online sales on Black Friday rose 9 percent to $648 million
from last year, making it the heaviest online spending day to
date in 2010, according to comScore.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Dhanya Skariachan, editing
by Matthew Lewis)

US e-commerce gets a boost as online deals spread