For online merchants, Dec. 7 is “black Friday”

As you no doubt suspected, online holiday shopping patterns are very different from those of offline shoppers, according to a study by the Atlas Institute. The study analyzed holiday shopping behavior data of 24 e-commerce companies from after Thanksgiving through Dec. 24, 2000 and compared those results with those of offline shopping patterns.

Among the study’s findings: weekdays appear to be the most active online shopping days during the holidays, while Saturdays are the most active for offline shopping; Thursday, Dec. 7 was the biggest online shopping day last year compared to offline shopping’s peaks of the day after Thanksgiving and the days just before Christmas; online shopping tapers off about 10 days before Christmas, while offline shopping continues to increase until just before Christmas day; and online shopping activity peaks during work hours at about 1 p.m. EST.