ComScore reports the slightly surprising fact that Black Friday e-commerce sales were up 1 percent from last year. Surprising because e-commerce growth has been falling at precipitous levels in 2008, less surprising in light of the fact that retailers were more aggressive in their Black Friday price cuts this year. $534 million in sales were seen this Black Friday, 3 million more than last year’s totals. November’s sales (up to the 28th) were still four percent fewer than last year’s. According to RCT ShopperTrak, total Black Friday sales were up 3 percent this year. While sales growth was steady compared to last year, Nielsen reports (pdf) that Black Friday web traffic to retail sites grew by 10 percent. If the ComScore and Nielsen numbers both jive, this probably means that purchasers spent more time and visited more retail sites before making a purchase this year.

The largest growth in Black Friday retail traffic was for Consumer Electronics, 219 percent from last year. Shopping comparison sites and shopping portals grew by 83 percent, Toys/Video Games by 73%, and Home and Garden by 53%.

The only category to show negative growth was Flowers and Gifts, which fell by 16 percent.

The top ten retailers were:
1. eBay
2. Amazon
3. Wal-Mart Stores
4. Target
5. Best Buy
6. Circuit City
7. Dell
8. Sears
9. Kohl’s
10. J.C. Penny
Of interesting note is the fact that, while it was number one in visits, eBay’s growth from 2007 was a very slim 7 percent.  Also,the LA Times reports that, despite strong sales, Bust Buy, Target, and J.C. Penney saw their stocks fall in the first day of trading since the sales.

ComScore notes that the biggest indicator of holiday sales trends will is Cyber Monday, the first working day after Thanksgiving, where sales typically ramp up for the rest of the shopping season.

By Mark Alvarez