Cyber Monday barely retained its status as the biggest online spending day of the year after a surge of shoppers hit computers and phones instead of stores on Black Friday to chase deals earlier in the season.

Online spending on Monday rose 12 percent to a record $3.45 billion, according to Adobe Systems. Black Friday almost caught up, with $3.34 billion spent online, a gain of 21.6 percent from a year ago and another record.

The narrowing gap highlights the capitulation of brick-and-mortar stores to the spending habits of their shoppers, who prefer the convenience of scouting deals from home to the challenge of battling fellow consumers at a store for limited bargains. Wal-Mart Stores, Target and department stores have joined Amazon.com to offer online deals earlier in the holiday shopping season rather than saving their best prices for those who go to the stores on select days such as Black Friday.

“More and more people would rather have that time back in their day to spend with family rather than driving somewhere, parking and fighting crowds,” said David Spitz, chief executive officer of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps nearly 3,000 merchants sell on Amazon, EBay, Wal-Mart and other online marketplaces. “It’s what’s driving the long-term trend of e-commerce. It’s convenient and puts hours back in shoppers’ lives.”

E-commerce sales in November and December will grow 17.2 percent to $94.7 billion, more than five times the pace of total retail sales growth of 3.3 percent, according to EMarketer.

Amazon lured shoppers with 50-inch televisions for $145, half-price select Nerf toys and Play-Doh items and $40 off its popular voice-activated Echo personal assistant. Wal-Mart and Target responded with their own deals on electronics and video games. Wal-Mart reported orders through its mobile app with in-store pickup were up 150 percent.

Cyber Monday traditionally relied on shoppers returning to work and using fast internet connections to get holiday gifts.

Online sales totaled $1.93 billion on Thanksgiving, up 11.5 percent from a year earlier. And it turns out EBay was on to something with its newly minted “Mobile Wednesday,” the day before Thanksgiving when it expected travelers to shop from the road. Online spending increased 19 percent that day to $1.57 billion, according to Adobe.


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