giftMore shoppers are taking advantage of the Web to avoid crowds, long lines, and the sometimes futile search for deals on Black Friday, according to new data from online research firm comScore.

On Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday shopping season, in case you need a reminder) US online merchants saw $648 million in sales this year, up 9 percent from last year. Since the beginning of November (which is what comScore counts as the “holiday shopping period”), people have spent $11.6 billion on Web shopping, a 13 percent increase. And that’s all before Cyber Monday (tomorrow), which is supposedly when holiday shopping really moves online.

Those numbers are even better than the general uptick in Black Friday spending. The National Retail Federation reports that more people were shopping this weekend (212 million compared to 195 million last year) and each of them spent an average of 6 percent more money.

Among online retailers, was the big winner, with 25 percent more unique visitors than last year. Walmart was down 1 percent, while Target was up 9 percent, and Best Buy was up 1 percent.

[image via Flickr/mmlolek]

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