December 17, also known as Free Shipping Day because it’s the last day you could get free shipping for pre-Christmas online purchases, was the busiest spending day in online history.
Market researcher comScore said that Free Shipping Day generated $942 million in online sales, up 61 percent from a year earlier. The numbers so far show that this season has been the busiest ever for online retail sales. That’s both a good leading economic indicator for the overall economy, as well as an indicator that online sales are taking market share away from physical retail stores. It shows that online retailers are figuring out how to promote their goods so that consumers make their last minute purchases online instead of in crowded malls.
Online shopping has been strong all season. Free Shipping Day (when 1,500 online merchants offered free shipping) was eclipsed by Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), which saw sales of $1.028 billion, and by Green Monday (Dec. 13), at $954 million. Year to date, the first 47 days of the November-December shopping season generated $27.46 billion in sales, up 12 percent from a year ago. Cyber Monday is now expected to become the busiest shopping day of the year; that’s a first for the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
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