* Data puts to rest fears of tempered Cyber Monday
* e-commerce still a small part of overall retailing
By Alexandria Sage
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Consumers heeded the call of online retailers on Cyber Monday, ringing up double-digit sales growth on that key e-commerce holiday shopping day, according to data released on Tuesday.
At least three companies reported surging sales on Monday, exceeding expectations in a consumer environment still tempered by high unemployment and worries over the economy.
Online same-store sales, which measure Web retailers active for more than a year, rose 36 percent from the prior year, according to ChannelAdvisor, which helps retailers maximize Web selling.
Amazon — the world’s largest online retailer whose shares rose to an all-time high on Monday — is widely expected to be the primary beneficiary of robust online sales this holiday.
In a separate report, IBM Coremetrics said U.S. online sales rose 19.4 percent from Cyber Monday 2009, with the average value of orders up 8.3 percent.
Both IBM Coremetrics and ChannelAdvisor said Cyber Monday was the strongest sales day over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Some retail experts questioned whether Cyber Monday would retain the sales strength it enjoyed in the past five years, due to more deals coming earlier in November, including on Thanksgiving. [ID:nN27157054]
But preliminary data released Monday showed those fears to be overblown.
As of 11 am PST Monday, eBay’s PayPal unit reported a 21 percent rise in total payment volume on Cyber Monday over last year.
Mercent, whose clients offer their wares across a host of online retailers, reported 33 percent rise in gross merchandise volume for its sellers as if midday on Cyber Monday. That data point, which measures the total amount of goods sold, rose to 83 percent for those clients selling on Amazon, Mercent said.
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 the day has since attracted a wider group of shoppers.
While most online retailers do not disclose sales data for particular days, retail marketplace Buy.com said its sales growth for Cyber Monday was 48 percent higher than the year-ago period as of 5 pm PST.
GSI Commerce Inc GSIC.O, which helps retailers sell online and is the owner of flash luxury shopping site RueLaLa, said the peak shopping time on Cyber Monday came late at night.
“This late-night shopping is a function of consumers being hesitant and procrastinating during tough economic times,” said Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce.
Many consumers, she said, tended to click “only when faced with a looming deadline when the sale ends.”
Online spending growth outpaces that at brick-and-mortar stores, where sales have remained tepid. But e-commerce still makes up just a small percentage of the overall retail market.
Analytics firm comScore, which plans to release Cyber Monday data on Wednesday, expects overall online sales for November and December to rise 11 percent to $32.4 billion, compared with the same time last year. [ID:nN23230361] (Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Andre Grenon)