Good and bad news in the world of online Black Friday Finances

Despite the ongoing economic woes, comScore is reporting online sales figures totaling $534 million for Black Friday – up 1% from last year. Spending on Thanksgiving also rose 6% over 2007’s figures. The increase showed a better-than-expected economic performance in the online sector.

Not surprisingly, analysts are pointing to deep discounts and aggressive promotions as part of the reason why online sales did so well. ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni noted that Cyber Monday may be just as important a test as Friday:

“Cyber Monday may well prove to be an important indicator of whether the decline in spending that we’ve seen during the first few weeks of the online holiday season will continue for the balance of the year.”

However, the numbers leading up to the biggest shopping day of the year tell a different story. This year’s numbers show a 4% decrease , nearly $400 million in total, in spending from November 1 to November 28, and analysts are forecasting no change in the amount spent on Cyber Monday compared to 2007.

Also included in the report is an interesting breakdown of shopping trends in terms of time. Unlike their retail store-going brethren, online shoppers were more likely to buy between the hours of 12 and 4 p.m. than any other time period.