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Holidays Off to Strong Start for Online Retailers (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: AMZN EBAY AAPL TGT WMT IBM

Updated from 9:33 a.m. ET to include Cyber Monday research from IBM.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With Black Friday over and Cyber Monday getting into swing, talk of robust sales will spell music to the ears of online retailers such as Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY).

More people than ever before shopped online and in stores on Black Friday, according to statistics released on Sunday by the National Retail Federation (NRF), with 247 million shoppers visiting stores and Web sites, up from 226 million last year.

"There's no question that millions of people were drawn to retailers' aggressive online promotions this weekend, making sure to research and compare prices days in advance to ensure they were getting the best deal they could," said Pam Goodfellow, a director at the federation's BIGinsight division, in a statement.

The survey of 4,005 consumers found that the average person spent $172.42 online over the weekend, approximately 40.7% of their total weekend spending, up from 37.8% last year

Despite lingering uncertainty in the broader economy, U.S. consumers were clearly happy opening their wallets online this weekend.

Some $1.042 billion was spent online during Black Friday, a 26% increase on Black Friday 2011, according to statistics from comScore. The research firm also reported that, for the first 23 days of November 2012, $13.7 billion has been spent online, a 16% increase on the corresponding days last year.

With the holiday shopping season now gathering steam, online retailers and traditional stores such as Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) have been offering a slew of Internet deals to customers.

Amazon, for example, has cut the price of its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet from $159 to $129 for Cyber Monday, while Target is offering a 46-inch Westinghouse LCD TV for $379.99, down from $579.99. EBay touts a '4-Day Holiday Deal Frenzy' running from Nov. 23 to Nov. 26 on its Web site, offering deals such as an 8-Gbyte, 7-inch, Barnes & Noble (BKS) Nook for $79, down from $179.

By mid-day, Cyber Monday online sales were up 25.6% compared to the same period in Cyber Monday 2011, according to research from IBM (IBM). The tech giant's Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that 21% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, with 10.9% of consumers using their mobile device to make a purchase.

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