Apple was 5th busiest retail site on Cyber Monday was the exception in comScore’s report on retail sales for Cyber Monday 2008, the biggest online shopping day in a year marked by global financial meltdown.

While its competitors were offering deep discounts to pull in recession-battered customers, Apple (AAPL) had already ended its Black Friday sale and by Monday was back to charging its usual premium prices for laptops, desktops and MP3 players.

Yet its online store still managed to grab the No. 5 spot in comScore’s ranking of the top 20 most visited retail sites on Monday Dec. 1, handily beating not only Dell (DELL) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ), but such full-fledged retail outlets as Best Buy (BBY), Toys “R” Us and Circuit City (CC). drew nearly 3.7 million visitors that day, up 43% from November’s somewhat depressed average. The big winner for Cyber Monday was eBay (EBAY), with nearly 13 million visitors, followed by Amazon (AMZN; 9.2 million), Wal-Mart (WMT; 6.7 million) and Target (TGT; 4.8 million).

Overall, according to comScore, online spending was up 15% from 2007, driven by a 22% increase in the number of buyers. But those buyers made 9% fewer purchases than last year, and they spent 5% less.

Below the fold: comScore’s top 20 chart, its breakdown of e-commerce spending and, perhaps most usefully for tight-fisted shoppers, its ranking of the top 10 comparison shopping sites, in which was the big winner.

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