Black Friday Online Sales Jump 22% as Jobs Spur Shopping

Best Buy Co.
Best Buy Co.'s website was shut down for about an hour today, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, leaving some customers unable to make purchases. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Sales online the day after Thanksgiving surged 22 percent from a year earlier as U.S. consumers, buoyed by higher employment and lower gasoline prices, flocked to computers and smartphones to hunt bargains.

The gain outpaced online shopping on Thanksgiving as heavy Black Friday promotions attracted consumers, researcher ChannelAdvisor Corp. said today in an online statement. Sales at EBay Inc. rose 27 percent on Black Friday over last year, and Amazon.com Inc. saw a 24 percent increase.

The online gains give a strong start to a holiday shopping season that the National Retail Federation predicts will be the best in three years. Consumer spending in the last quarter grew at a 2.2 percent annualized rate, exceeding estimates for a 1.8 percent improvement.

Black Friday online shopping was done less on mobile devices this year than on Thanksgiving, slipping to 46 percent from 49 percent, the company said. The rates of actual purchases also declined from Thursday, perhaps because consumers were more selective or finding hot items out of stock, Morrisville, North Carolina-based ChannelAdvisor said.

IBM Benchmark said Black Friday online sales rose 9.5 percent, and mobile sales jumped 25 percent. For Thanksgiving, mobile sales on smartphones and tablets accounted for 52 percent of online traffic.

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