'Cyber Monday' Shoppers Bought More, Spent Less

In a display of strength by the e-commerce sector, online shopping sites reported a surge in sales and traffic on Monday, bucking the mixed-bag results experienced by traditional retailers so far this holiday season.

By 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on so-called Cyber Monday, Web shoppers had spent, in total, 11% more than they did a year ago at that time, according to Coremetrics Inc., a Web analytics company that tracks shopper behavior on the sites of more than 500 U.S. brands.

But in a sign that shoppers were chasing steep discounts and spreading out purchases, the average size of each sales ticket had slipped nearly 14% from last year.

With Web sites dangling deeper discounts and pushing new technology to connect with consumers, Cyber Monday was poised to become the biggest day for online retail sales ever. Online tracking company comScore Inc. estimated that sales could grow 6% to exceed $900 million, a new single-day record.

Several sites also reported record sales Monday. Handbag retailer EBags Inc. said that as of 5 p.m., its Cyber Monday sales were up 55.5% over last year, thanks to a deal it posted to the site offering 20% off all purchases and free shipping for purchases over $100. Inc. said that Monday sales were about 10% above their record-breaking Friday levels, as it offered free shipping on all purchases and a free car giveaway promotion.

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