Cyber Monday sales hit all-time high: comScore

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. online retail sales on Cyber Monday hit an all-time high and surpassed $1 billion for the first time for any single day of web shopping, according to research firm comScore Inc.

The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index was up 2.1 percent at noon to its highest intraday level since late 2007. Inc and eBay Inc, which are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of robust online shopping, saw their shares rise. Shares of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, rose 2 percent, while eBay gained 1.4 percent.

Shoppers spent $1.028 billion online on Monday, 16 percent more than last year, comScore said. Average spending per transaction rose 10 percent to $60.05, while the total number of transactions was up 6 percent to 17.1 million.

For the holiday season so far, online retail sales have hit $13.55 billion, up 13 percent from 2009, according to comScore.

The Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday was dubbed Cyber Monday five years ago to entice shoppers online. Originally, people returning to work after the break browsed for gifts on office computers, but retail deals offered on the day has since attracted a wider group of shoppers.

Although more online retailers have begun to offer deals earlier in November, including on Thanksgiving Day, the robust sales on Cyber Monday demonstrate that it is still a draw to shoppers.

The comScore figures echo those released on Tuesday by ChannelAdvisor and IBM Coremetrics that also found Cyber Monday online sales rose by double digits on a percentage basis this year.

ComScore expects online retail sales to rise 11 percent for the 2010 holiday season in November and December. It has already raised its closely-watched forecast twice.

E-commerce still makes up only about 7 percent of the overall retail market, but online spending growth is outpacing that at brick-and-mortar stores, where sales gains are more modest and have been inconsistent in a slow economic recovery.

Research firm ShopperTrak estimated on Monday that sales over the Black Friday weekend at physical stores were flat at $20.49 billion compared to last year, though shopper visits were up 2.8 percent. Over the same three day period, online sales were $1.5 billion, according to comScore.

The National Retail Federation expects overall sales -- exclusive of online purchases -- to be up 2.3 percent this holiday season.

Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by John Wallace, Derek Caney and Tim Dobbyn