Online boom may see Cyber Monday top Black Friday

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More than 174 million shoppers streamed into stores and visited retailers' online stores on Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, spending an average of $335.47 per person, according to National Retail Federation figures released Tuesday. Multichannel shoppers spent $82 more on average than the online-only shopper, NRF noted, and $49 more on average than the in-store shopper.

- Shoppers are opening their wallets: Total holiday spending is expected to climb about 4 percent this year - in line with 2016's gain - but holiday cheer has infected some consumers with a vengeance.

The research firm said the $6.59 billion spent on a day dedicated to e-commerce was a 16.8 percent increase from a year ago and resulted in the largest USA online shopping day in history. "People increasingly know where to find the best deals and what they want to purchase, which results in less price matching behavior typically done on desktops".

"This is due in large part to deeper discounts on Monday than on Friday, and lower (or no) free shipping thresholds", wrote Rick Kenney, Head of Consumer Insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud in a blog post. Matt Shay concludes, "We had a very strong Black Friday Weekend".

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 past year. Online spend surpassed at least $1 billion every day in the lead up to Thanksgiving.

Adobe Analytics measures 80 percent of online transactions at 100 major USA retailers. "We have nearly five weeks to go [until Christmas], lots of things can change, but we are certainly encouraged to start off from a position of strength".

Skyhook's analysis found that Walmart, Target, and Best Buy beat Macy's, Kohl's, and Sears in volume of in-store foot traffic on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, and that peak in-store shopping took place late on Thursday afternoon. E-commerce continued to be a focus for retail marketers on Black Friday, as 57% of the top 100 offers on RetailMeNot were online-only. 51 million people shopped in store, 58 million shopped online, and 65 million shopped both in-store and online.

Shay also notes that this Black Friday weekend also stood out from that of years past for other reasons.

Growth in Thanksgiving Day desktop retail e-commerce sales was predominantly driven by an increase in buyers (+16 percent vs. year ago), but also modest increases in the number of dollars per transaction (+3 percent) and transactions per buyer (+2 percent).

December ExpectationsFollowing Black Friday and Cyber Week, retailers still have plenty of opportunity to reach shoppers before Christmas, and most opportunity lies in driving sales to their brick-and-mortar locations.

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