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U.S. Online Sales on Cyber Monday Climbed 16%, ComScore Says

U.S. online sales rose 16 percent on Cyber Monday, topping $1 billion for the first time, spurred by free shipping deals and discounted prices, ComScore Inc. said.

Sales reached $1.03 billion, Gian Fulgoni, chairman of Reston, Virginia-based ComScore, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Cyber Monday -- the day U.S. consumers return to work after Thanksgiving weekend and shop online from the office -- gives an early indication of holiday spending.

Researchers have raised estimates for year-end shopping as consumers shake off the effects of the recession. ComScore had boosted its prediction last week for online sales in November and December, saying they’d grow 11 percent to $32.4 billion, up from a previous forecast of as much as 9 percent growth.

“Retailers have been very, very aggressive this year,” Fulgoni said.

Early results from other companies indicated the season had gotten off to a strong start. International Business Machines Corp.-owned Coremetrics, which culls sales results from 500 U.S. retailers, said Cyber Monday sales rose 19 percent.

EBay Inc.’s PayPal, which says it handles about 17 percent of U.S. e-commerce transactions, observed the same growth rate.

Online retailers, led by Inc., will account for 7 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. this year, up from 6 percent last year, according to Forrester Research Inc. Seattle- based Amazon posted hundreds of Cyber Monday deals on its site, including one for a 47-inch (119-centimeter) television from Vizio Inc. for $599. The set regularly sells for $998.

The National Retail Federation coined the term Cyber Monday in 2005 to generate buzz around the first working day after Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start to holiday shopping.

Holiday sales over the Internet on Nov. 26, this year’s Black Friday, reached $648 million, a 9 percent increase from the corresponding day a year earlier, ComScore said earlier.

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