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Today is “Cyber Monday,” and anyone who likes the idea of avoiding retail crowds will be scouring the Internet looking for online deals. It looks like Black Friday, the biggest retail shopping day of the year, went better than expected, with $816 million in consumer sales. That is the heaviest online spending day ever, and it’s a 25 percent jump over last year’s spending.

Now compare that 25 percent Black Friday jump over the spending from 2009 to the 2010 increase which was only 9 percent. Lots of news articles and videos about Black Friday 2011 weren’t all positive. (In fact the fallout from the frenzy around some of the late night/early morning “door buster” sales is still being sorted out.)

We won’t know for a few days how Cyber Monday will go, but we do know that a lot of shoppers have already been clicking and shopping since the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to comScore, fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, which is an increase of 35 percent versus year ago. The top five retail sites (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple) achieved double-digit gains in visitors vs. last year.

Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever. Sales from that day exceeded $1 billion. But we are already seeing a tremendous surge in online shopping this season, so today’s online shopping sprees could bring record sales for e-retailers.

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