Cyber Monday online spending up 14%

San Mateo, Calif. While results are still being compiled, early reports show that, as predicted, Cyber Monday online retailers saw sales increases over the course of the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite tepid sales and customer traffic counts on Black Friday and Black Saturday, Web analytics firm Coremetrics reported that as of 1:00 p.m. Monday, online sales for the day were up 19.6% over a year ago. That number dipped as the day progressed and, as of Tuesday morning, sales were sitting at 14% above 2008 levels.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Coremetrics reported early Tuesday that Cyber Monday sales were up 13.7%, compared with Cyber Monday 2008. The average ticket rose 38.2% over the year-ago period (led by apparel retailers) and consumers purchased nearly 30% more items compared with Cyber Monday 2008.

Coremetrics reported that consumer shopping hit its peak from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. PST, but maintained stronger momentum throughout the day than on Cyber Monday 2008.

“We are seeing good online buying momentum because people are looking for the very best deals, and are going online for the most convenient way to shop," said John Squire, chief strategy officer, Coremetrics. "We expect to see one more spike in online spending when the final ‘free-shipping-is-ending’ promotions are announced. Until then, retailers will watch consumer behavior very carefully to gauge what's working well and what they need to adjust. The end result will be a boon to consumers, as retailers pull out all the stops to entice consumers to make that purchase."

A comparison of retail performance by category revealed that apparel retailers and jewelry retailers experienced the biggest jumps in the average dollar amount consumers spent per online order, up 26.4% and 14.3% respectively over the year-ago period.

Sports apparel and gear retailers reported a rise of nearly 55% in the number of new consumers visiting their sites. But the average dollar amount consumers spent per online order declined slightly by 3.1%.

Department stores reported a 33% increase in site traffic. However, average order value was down nearly 10%.

According to a report by the Associated Press, many shoppers started looking for online deals ahead of Cyber Monday, as retailers stretched their online deals over several days.

Target, Walmart, and other retailers started offering the online equivalent of Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving or even earlier. And they all ramped up on Monday, offering deeper discounts and free shipping.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is not usually the busiest online shopping day of the year, but it is typically one of the 10 busiest. Analysts expect Dec. 14, the last day consumers can order goods and have them arrive before Christmas, will be the busiest online shopping day.

Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru predicts online holiday sales will rise 8% to $44.7 billion. So far, the weekend results are "strong reinforcement of how Web sales continue to outpace store sales," she said.

Online sales account for about 7% of retailers' total sales, though that increases to about 10% during the holidays, according to Forrester.