Online boom may see Cyber Monday top Black Friday

Andrew Cummings
November 29, 2017

Last year, holiday sales, which exclude sales from autos, gas and restaurants but includes online spending, rose 3.6 percent.

NRF officials cited strong U.S. economic data, good weather and an enterprising approach by retailers to discounting both in store and online as factors boosting their continued confidence in the outlook. This bodes well for Cyber Monday and the remainder of the holiday season, as consistent growth of approximately 18% would be a good haul for most retailers. More than 81 million shopped online on Cyber Monday. Over Thanksgiving weekend a year ago, an estimated 109 million people shopped online, compared with 99 million in stores, according to a National Retail Federation survey. In addition, more than 58 million shopped online only, and more than 51 million shopped in stores only. "However, younger consumers (those under 34) are still savvy when it comes to online shopping and leveraged their smartphones the most to browse for the best deals from some of their favorite retailers". Small retailers (under $10 million in annual revenue) saw 30 percent higher conversion rates on smartphones than large retailers.

But it's not only where people are shopping that is changing - it's also how people are shopping.

Adobe Analytics said online shopping over the five days was a record $19.6 billion. From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday the biggest spenders were millennials, according to the NRF.

Adobe Analytics measures 80 percent of online transactions at 100 major USA retailers. Black Friday (November 24) reached $2.36 billion, marking the first time it reached the $2 billion milestone from desktop sales alone.

ComScore reported US desktop retail e-commerce sales for Thanksgiving Day rose 22 percent while Black Friday rose 20 percent.

The ease of shopping on phones has helped push that trend, prompting consumers who previously just researched deals online to actually click the buy button, said Rob Garf, vice president of industry strategy and insights at Salesforce, which works with companies including L'Oréal SE, Adidas AG and PetSmart Inc.

No matter who was scoring it, the Thanksgiving holiday was a sales smash according to retail observers.

129 million people visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 14 percent vs. last year, with 55 million coming via desktop and 104 million via mobile (and 30 million on both). For some retailers, those numbers were even higher: Shopify, an e-commerce software provider for small- and medium-sized businesses, says that mobile transactions accounted for 60 percent of all sales yesterday, up 11 percent from a year ago.

And New York City ranked as the top purchasing city - taking 15 percent of all Black Friday purchases, according to Shopify.

Although the NRF declined to provide actual sales figures, Adobe said in its own report that consumers shelled out $6.59 billion online during Cyber Monday, including $2 billion in sales made via smartphones.

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