Black Friday electronic commerce sales were $816 million, up 26 percent from a year ago, according to comScore.

The number underscores the relentless march of digital commerce as users prefer to surf the malls of cyberspace rather than brave crowds in physical stores. ComScore said that e-commerce sales for the first 25 days of the holiday season — Nov. 1 to Nov. 25 — were $12.7 billion in the U.S., up 15 percent from $11.1 billion a year ago. On Thanksgiving Day, sales were $479 million, up 18 percent from $407 million a year ago.

“Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels.”

On Cyber Monday, Nov. 28, sales are expected to be the strongest for online retailers. That day is popular because it is the day when shoppers can order and be confident their packages will arrive in the mail before Christmas day. says that eight out of ten online retailers are running special online promotions on Cyber Monday. Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever, with sales exceeding $1 billion. ComScore expects another record this year.

Consumers flocked to sites describing Black Friday deals. saw 3.9 million unique visitors from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, up 51 percent from a year ago. saw 3.2 million visitors, up 137 percent from a year ago. Amazon saw the most traffic on Black Friday among retailers, followed by Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.

[image credit: digital trends]

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