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Online holiday shopping continued to break records and many predictions, in spite of the lingering recession. IBM's Coremetrics unit said online sales on Monday jumped 19% and the average online order rose 8.3% to $194.89.
The increases, which seemed to surpass even the most optimistic predictions, could bode well for the remainder of the holiday shopping season. However, the bargains were so good that there were fears consumers had spent too much too early.
Coremetrics said so-called Cyber Monday has been the biggest shopping day in the year thus far. Monday's purchasing was largely fueled by the tradition of consumers logging onto online retailing sites at work after the long Thanksgiving holiday.
Online sales momentum appears to be on track to fulfill ComScore's prediction that online retail spending for the November-December shopping period would reach $32.4 billion. The figure represents an 11% gain over the previous year and indicates that online shopping could soon surpass the growth recorded for bricks-and-mortar retailers, which recorded low single-digit gains in holiday shopping so far this year.
"Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last," said ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni at the start of the holiday season. "This early spending surge reflects, in part, heavy promotional activity on the part of retailers occurring earlier this season."
This year, more consumers were using smartphones for their shopping, even as many sites struggled to make their offerings more mobile-friendly. A survey by Compuware's Gomez unit found that 58% of surveyed consumers expect mobile sites to be better than the classic sites they regularly visit from their computers.
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