Online Holiday Shopping Surpasses $1 Billion in Sales

The holiday shopping season for 2012 has gotten off to a record start, if early spending estimates from retail stores and websites are any indication.

According to a survey released yesterday by the National Retail Federation, shoppers hit stores and websites in record numbers, up 9.2 percent from last year. They also spent more (up 12.8 percent from last year).

What could be responsible for the shift in spending? According to Patty Edwards, CIO at Trutina Financial, it’s the convenience made available to shoppers on how and when to spend their money. “The more you can make a shopper shop multiple channels, they are at least twice as likely to be a loyal shopper and spend tons of money.”

Wal-Mart and Macy’s were two winners in this category, making the shopping experience seamless both in stores and on their website.

Even though holiday spending appears to be booming, analysts caution against getting too excited. There’s still the December shopping season to get through, and Reuters claim this accounts for a third of annual sales and 40-50 percent of profits for the whole year.

In other words, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

The Associated Press reports the following weekend shopping trends:

Thanksgiving Bust
For stores that started their sales on Thanksgiving, they missed out on the Black Friday spike in shopping.  Karen MacDonald, a spokeswoman for Taubman Centers (operater of 28 malls country wide), says Thanksgiving openings hurt business, and she wasn’t wowed by the Black Friday sales. “It was a good Black Friday, but I don’t think it was great.”

Online Sales Rose
The Web was the place to be this weekend, according to comScore, a company that tracks online spending. Online sales rose 32 percent from last year on Thanksgiving Day, and saw a 26 percent increase on Black Friday (from last year.) For the first time ever, Black Friday online sales pushed past the $1 billion mark.

Final Data to Come
ShopperTrak, which analyzes customer traffic at 40,000 U.S. stores, plans to release sales data for Thanksgiving later this week. An early estimation is near the $700 million mark.