Amazon says Cyber Monday, Black Friday broke sales records

Black Friday sales break records

Amazon said Cyber Monday and Black Friday were the biggest shopping days in its history. 

The online retail giant didn't disclose sales figures, but it said customers ordered more than 180 million items during the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, adding that the latter was its biggest single shopping day ever.

Cyber Monday likely hit $7.9 billion in sales across all retailers, making it the biggest online shopping day yet, according to an estimate from Adobe. That represents a roughly 20 percent increase from last year. Online sales for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday likely reached $3.7 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively, Adobe said.

As fewer consumers travel to brick-and-mortar stores to shop for bargains on Black Friday, more are opting to hunt for sales at online merchants such as Amazon and eBay. Cold weather in the Northeast and rain and snow on the West Coast maybe have also convinced some consumers to skip stores and shop online. 

Solid economy sparks spending

The strong start to the annual holiday shopping period reflects the solid economic growth enjoyed in the U.S. this year, with unemployment at its lowest rate in nearly 50 years. Wages are also rising, while the tax cuts signed into law last December put more money in some workers' pockets. 

Amazon, which accounts for about half of all online retail transactions, said in a statement that its best-selling items on Cyber Monday included the Echo Dot, AncestryDNA's ethnicity testing kit and the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones for Apple devices. Other popular items included Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming," the Jenga game and Instant Pots. 

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to break records on Amazon year over year, which tells us that customers love shopping for deals to kick off the holiday shopping season," said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, in the Amazon statement.

Toys witnessed deep discounting on Sunday, with price cuts of more than 31 percent, Adobe said, also noting that retailers discounted TVs by about 18 percent on Black Friday.