Consumers defied widespread economic worries and shopped with record-breaking enthusiasm on Black Friday, according to a recent report by financial bible CFO drawing on a range of research.
According to business analytics firm comScore, online spending was especially bullish, with digital sales on Black Friday (23 November) reaching the $1 billion milestone (£623m) for the first time ever, a 26 per cent year-on-year increase. In a similarly impressive vein, online spending on Thanksgiving Day (22 November) topped $600 million (£374m), a 32 per cent improvement on 2011.
However, the rise in Internet-powered buying came at the expense of physical purchases, ShopperTrak said, with in-store sales down 1.8 per cent despite slightly improved year-on-year foot traffic amounting to some 308 million visits to bricks-and-mortar retail outlets.
Overall, the most lucrative day of the recent discount spree was in fact Cyber Monday (26 November), when US shoppers parted with nearly $2 billion (£1.24bn) in all, a 17 per cent increase on 2011's showing, Adobe's Digital Index pointed out.
"More and more consumers tell us that they love the deals that the holiday season offers but they don't want to fight the crowds in stores to have access to those offers. So the web becomes very compelling," commented Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, a principal analyst at research firm Forrester.
"Over the last few years, web retailers were matching many of the Black Friday store offers anyway, and savvy shoppers caught on to that trend," she added.
Within the digital shopping realm, mobile phone-powered buys now account for one in every four dollars spent online, according to Usablenet, with Black Friday purchases made via smartphone up 75 per cent year-on-year, and Cyber Monday handset-fuelled sales up by 100 per cent in the same period.
"More shoppers than ever have smartphones and tablets, which makes shopping online even easier because you can do it making Thanksgiving dinner or sitting on the couch watching football with your family," Mulpuru-Kodali noted.
While overall retail statistics are only currently available for the US, Amazon.co.uk has confirmed that its Black Friday Kindle Fire deal represented the single biggest day of sales experienced by its Kindle Family to date.
"The reaction has been incredible. Customers purchased more than three times as many Kindle devices on Black Friday than on any other day in its history on Amazon.co.uk, and our previous record was impressive," said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of the online marketplace's EU Kindle division.
Indeed, despite still being largely focused around the American consumer market, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are increasingly finding themselves exported abroad.
Providing a glimpse into the rise of the consumer shopping bonanza, Salesforce noted that the UK now accounts for 1.1 per cent of Black Friday social media buzz.