Online spending on Thanksgiving and Black Friday has shown a slight rise, partially allaying fears of an overall slump in internet sales.
Spending was up two per cent on last year which, while not much, was better than some were expecting. Overall Americans spent $822m (£553m) in the 48-hour period, according to internet monitoring firm comScore.
"Early reports suggest that Black Friday sales in retail stores were slightly better than anticipated in this depressed retail climate, and this performance apparently extended to the online channel which saw sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined increase two per cent versus a year ago," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
"It is probable that on Black Friday consumers responded positively to the very aggressive promotions and discounts being offered in retail stores, so it will be important to see how they respond to similarly attractive deals being offered online on Cyber Monday, the traditional kick-off to the online holiday shopping season."
However, many commentators are worried that, while spending will be up, profits for sellers may be falling. This year saw huge savings offered both online and offline, including HP cutting the price of some notebooks by up to 40 per cent.
Cyber Monday is seen as an important bellwether for the retail industry. In the past three years the spending growth rate for that day has mirrored the figure for the entire holiday season to within an average of less than one per cent.
"With so much volatility right now in the variables that influence consumer spending, predicting where this online holiday season will end up has been far more challenging than in previous years," said Fulgoni.
"That said, Cyber Monday may well prove to be an important indicator of whether the decline in spending during the first few weeks of the online holiday season will continue for the balance of the year."
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