Shoppers spend $6B during 'Cyber Week'

Online retailers saw a record start to the holiday shopping season as U.S. shoppers spent almost $6 billion on e-commerce last week, a 15 percent increase from a year ago, according to comScore.

While big business was expected on Cyber Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were also two of the four heaviest online spending days in history, at $1.12 billion and $1.03 billion, respectively. Combined with the bump in traditional retails sales, the figures show increased confidence from consumers ahead of the end of the year.

"As the deals from this week expire, it will be important to see the degree to which consumers return to the same retailers to continue their holiday shopping, thereby helping improve retailers’ profit margins, or if we experience a pullback in consumer spending — which has occurred in previous years — before promotional offers and spending intensity pick back up in earnest around mid-December,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

The most common promotional tactic used by online retailers was free shipping — more than 63 percent of the transactions last week included free shipping, up 11 percent from last year. More than a third of users surveyed said they would not make a purchase without free shipping.

“Consumers have come to expect free shipping during the holiday promotion periods, and retailers, in turn, have realized that they must offer this incentive if they want to maximize their share of consumer spending — especially at the outset of the shopping season," Fulgoni said.