Despite a tepid start to the holiday season in stores on Black Friday, e-commerce is doing well. Cyber Monday sales were up 5 percent over last year, with shoppers spending $887 million.

This story first appeared in the December 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

That total matched the biggest online spending day on record, Dec. 9 of last year.

“It will be important to see if spending continues to grow over the balance of the season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, “because the heaviest spending day online typically occurs in mid-December.”

Black Friday and Thanksgiving were also bigger shopping days online this year, with Thanksgiving up 10 percent and Black Friday up 11 percent over 2008. So far, online spending for the month of November increased 3 percent compared with the same period last year.

“We’ve seen an encouraging start to the online holiday shopping season and it would appear that retailers’ aggressive and early marketing efforts have so far succeeded in persuading consumers to open their wallets online,” said Fulgoni. “Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were atypically strong online sales days this year, and Cyber Monday has continued that trend by outperforming the season-to-date average growth rate and matching last year’s record day of $887 million in online spending.”

Sales grew because there are more buyers online. Average spending per buyer was actually down slightly, presumably because of the recession, said comScore. The number of buyers purchasing Monday grew 6 percent to 8.7 million. The average amount spent per buyer decreased 1 percent from $103.72 to $102.19, comScore reported.

Although shopping online around the clock from home is increasing as more buyers have high-speed broadband connections at home, 52.7 percent of dollars spent online at U.S. Web sites Monday originated from work computers, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from last year. International purchases accounted for 5.8 percent.

Meanwhile, mobile shopping also got a boost. Mobile payments through PayPal increased 140 percent on Black Friday and 190 percent on Cyber Monday compared with an average Friday and Monday, the company said.

The volume of all payment transactions on PayPal grew by about 20 percent on Monday, the company reported.

Over on eBay, Cyber Monday transactions were up 35 percent compared to Black Friday. Zhu Zhu Pets was the most-searched item on eBay from the start of Thanksgiving week through Cyber Monday. Coach, Gucci and Ralph Lauren were the top-searched brands. From Black Friday, eBay began offering 12 days of daily deals up to 75 percent off, such as a Samsung Netbook computer and pink diamond stud earrings.

Across the Web, overall site performance at major retailers during Black Friday improved over last year, with fewer sites having major outages, according to Keynote Systems. Wal-Mart, Sears and Barnes & Noble offered the best speed and availability, Keynote said.

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