NEW YORK - Cyber Monday is still on top.
Retailers from Wal-Mart Stores to Amazon started rolling out "Cyber" deals at the beginning of November, and kept them going on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. That led some to wonder if earlier sales would put a dent in Cyber Monday sales. The date has been the biggest online shopping day of the year since 2010.
But shoppers delivered. In fact, shoppers bought online at the heaviest rate ever Monday, according to research firm comScore Inc., which tracks online sales.
Brenda Thompson, right, loads packages into a container at the FedEx hub at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, in Los Angeles. Millions of Americans took advantage of online deals ranging from free shipping to hundreds of dollars off electronics and half-price clothing Monday, which was expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year.
The group said Tuesday e-commerce spending rose 18 percent from last year's Cyber Monday to $1.74 billion, making Monday the top online spending day since comScore began tracking the data in 2001. The figure does not include purchases from mobile devices.
"I always wait for the deals on Cyber Monday," said Stephanie Appiah, 25, a student who picked up a Google Chromecast video streamer with free shipping on Monday. "It's better than Black Friday because you don't have to deal with other people."
The strong online performance was in contrast to overall spending. Over the four days beginning on Thanksgiving, spending fell an estimated 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion, according to the trade group the National Retail Federation. Overall, the NRF expects holiday spending to rise 2.9 percent to $602.1 billion.
"Any notion that Cyber Monday is declining in importance appears to be completely unfounded," comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement Tuesday. "While it's true that many retailers are bleeding their Cyber Monday promotions into the weekend before and the days afterward, Cyber Monday itself continues to be the most important day of the online holiday shopping season."
However, he did say that early promotions had some consumers buying more items earlier in the weekend, suggesting that Cyber Monday could have even been stronger were it not for the emergence of this trend.