The Black Friday-Cyber Monday-Cyber Week party has come to an end, and retailers and economists are now off to post the week’s best pictures. With nearly 9 out of 10 retailers offering promotions during the long weekend, there are certainly plenty of snapshots to review.

It seems what started 5 years ago as an informal get-together for online shoppers & retailers officially escalated this year into the social event of the season. And consumers didn’t just stop by quickly to say hello; they showed up early, brought their friends, and stayed all week! According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 212 million people shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend--the highest number recorded since the NRF began surveying consumers on the topic in 2004.

Miss the cyber-festivities or dying to recap the week’s hottest trends? Here’s what happened in online retail.

  • Daily visits to Retail 500 sites were up 9% on Thanksgiving Day, and grew more frequent as the weekend progressed. Black Friday & Cyber Monday visits were up 13% and 16% respectively, year-over-year. (Experian)
  • Search & cross-shopping across retailers remained the largest sources for traffic, accounting for 44% of referrals to the Retail 500 on the week ending 11/29. (Experian)
  • About 33.6% of the weekend’s shoppers made their purchases online, the highest percentage ever recorded. Total Spending per shopper boosted to $365, up +6% from 2009. (NRF)
  • Mobile made significant gains, with 3.9% of consumers logging on to a retailer's mobile site on Cyber Monday (comScore)
  • Consumers indulged more readily than they did in 2009, resulting in +17.6% growth in luxury good sales on Cyber Monday (comScore)

Google Insights for Search shows us that this year’s savvy holiday shoppers were more interested in product searching than they had been in recent history. This made it more important than ever for retailers to capitalize on precise targeting options and advanced SEM products such as Product Listing Ads.

And many shoppers found just what they were looking for. According to a 2010 Online Holiday Shopping Report released by search engine marketing platform Kenshoo, clicks on paid search ads increased by 55% from 2009 to 2010 with a 13.5% boost in online conversions, indicating that more shoppers are opting to skip the frenzied mall scene and make their holiday purchases from the comfort of their own homes this year.

If you missed out on last week’s great deals, don’t lose your holiday spirit—many are predicting that the sensational sales will continue this week, and if purchase patterns mimic Holiday 2009 results, this week will see the highest online sales numbers of the season.

Happy Shopping!

-Jacalyn Stolt, Google Retail Team