NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A big push by big-box stores and online retailers to bring Black Friday to the web -- and to do so earlier than ever -- seems to have paid off this year.
Online sales were up 39.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3% on Black Friday compared to the same days last year, according to IBM's (Fortune 500) Coremetrics, which tracks real-time data from 500 retailers in the apparel, department store, health and beauty and home goods categories.,
"This year marked Thanksgiving's emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals," said John Squire, Chief Strategy Officer, IBM Smarter Commerce.
Many brick and mortar stores offered in-store doorbuster deals online this year. Stores like Best Buy ( , Fortune 500) were offering up to 95% of their Black Friday ad items online for the same price, thereby negating the need for shoppers to go to the stores and stand in line, according to Brad Olson, founder of Gottadeal.com, a site that tracks Black Friday deals.
Department stores saw the biggest gains, with online sales soaring 59% compared to last year, Coremetrics reported. However, sales in all categories were strong. Online sales of home goods were up 48.8% year-over-year, apparel sales jumped 47.2% and the health and beauty category saw a 34.2% increase.
Yet, individual shoppers weren't necessarily spending more. The average value per order remained about flat with last year at $190.10, while the number of items per order declined to 6.4 from 7.4, according to Coremetrics' findings.
Mobile devices, including tablet computers and smart phones, accounted for 14.3% of all online retail traffic on Black Friday this year. That's up from 5.6% last year.
Yet, shoppers aren't at the point where they're making many of their purchases using their mobile devices yet. Instead, they are mainly using their iPhones and iPads to research prices and deals both in-store and online, Coremetrics said.
While many of the deals were offered early this year, there will still be some big discounts awaiting shoppers on Cyber Monday. According to the National Retail Federation's Shop.org eHoliday survey, eight out of 10 online retailers plan to offer promotions on Cyber Monday. And data tracking firm ComScore is expecting record sales of $1.2 billion.
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