Bargain-hunting shoppers on Cyber Monday broke consumption records, making the online shopping bonanza the biggest e-commerce day in history, according to data from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.
Online sales surged 20.6 percent compared with the same day last year, IBM said, with the most active e-shopping cities including New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Cyber Monday capped the highest five-day online consumption period in the books, as sales boomed 16.5 percent over the same stretch last year. That's even though the average order on Cyber Monday sank 1 percent to $128.77 from a year earlier, dropping below the $135.27 per-transaction average on Black Friday last week.
Still, overall Cyber Monday sales blew away Black Friday's, with 31.5 percent more revenue, according to IBM.
Separately, data firm ComScore said it anticipated $1.8 billion in e-commerce spending via desktops on Cyber Monday, with an additional $200 million coming from mobile sales.
But as a whole, retailers' performance over the holiday weekend was unimpressive.
Research firm ShopperTrak said sales in brick-and-mortar outlets over the four-day period were up 1 percent, to $22.2 billion, as foot traffic sank 4 percent to 1.8 billion visits.
Although visits to apparel stores saw a 9.4 percent upswing year over year, electronics retailers suffered a 6.5 percent drop, according to ShopperTrak. Many consumers went online to research products before heading into stores with clear goals.
In hopes of attracting more shoppers over more days, many chains spread out their bargains and promotions from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, if not longer.
"Retailers stretched Black Friday deals and promotions across November — removing the focus from just one big day of shopping," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. "Shoppers, in turn, paced themselves."
The International Council of Shopping Centers conceded that sales were soft but said that sales early in the holiday season are "no bellwether of the season as a whole."
"Consumers have completed an average 37.3 percent of their holiday gift buying, which means there is still a lot to do over the upcoming weeks," Michael Niemira, chief economist of the trade group, said in a statement.