One of the most important fiestas of consumption in the US takes place on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day, when a tide of consumers fills the stores and malls in search of bargains. But since 2005, the Monday after Black Friday (called Cyber Monday) takes place, the most significant days of the year for online purchases.
For this year, online spending rose 17 percent as smartphones and tablets let consumers shop anytime and anywhere. The Federation of American retailers suggests that 247 million Americans visited stores and online shops during the four-day weekend. They have spent $59.1 billion, an increase of 13% compared to last year.
These results are encouraging for retailers as in some cases up to a third of their annual sales and 40% to 50% of their profits transpire by Christmas. The impact could be significant on the U.S. economy, since consumer spending makes up 70% of economic activity.
Breaking Retail Records
Research firm ComScore said consumers spent about $1.46 billion this year compared with $1.25 billion a year ago, making it the heaviest online spending day in history. e-commerce retail spending reached $16.4 billion in the first 26 days of the holiday season, with an increase of 16 percent from same time last year.
ComScore said the mobile devices, especially tablets boosted by Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Android devices, are boosting sales for online retailers such as eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
“Mobile commerce as a whole has clearly gone beyond what it’s traditionally been, which is something primarily for the research phase,” said Clark Fredricksen, vice president at researcher EMarketer Inc. “Tablets are the key driver in terms of the sales element. They’ve extended the length of the shopping day.”
According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, more than 18 percent of consumers used mobile devices to access online shopping website this Cyber Monday, an increase of more than 70 percent over 2011. IBM’s Benchmark tracks more than a million e-commerce transactions a day from 500 retailers nationwide and found that mobile sales almost doubled, making up 13 percent of total Web-based purchases, marking the biggest online shopping day in US history.
The study also showed that people who use a mobile device to see offers are likely to make purchases, and the purchase order increased by 21% and 11% who use these devices this year.
“Apple is still the big winner, with the iPhone accumulating more retail sales than any other terminal, with a traffic of 8.3% vs. 6.7% and 5.9% for the iPad and Android, respectively,” the report says.
The reasons why consumers flock to buy online in that day is the desire to avoid crowd and visit places to get latest model of gadgets, sitting at home or shopping anytime and anywhere.
But what is the weight of m-commerce this year? Amazon sales increased 42 percent this year on Cyber Monday, EBay sales rose 55 percent, while for Etsy marketplace, sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased more than 80% year-over-year.
Last year was a significant year for mobile commerce, with IBM reporting a growth of 10.8% in the electronic store visits from mobile devices, up from 3.9% the previous year, which resulted in a mobile sales growth of 6.6% compared to 2.3% in 2010.
For EBay, Sunday registered the biggest mobile shopping and transaction day of the year.
“Our success on Black Friday and Cyber Monday was surpassed on Sunday when we experienced the biggest mobile transacted volume day of the year, as shoppers continue to embrace an anytime, anywhere mobile shopping experience,” said Steve Yankovich, EBay’s vice president of mobile.
In 2011, PayPal reported a 552% increase over the previous year in mobile payment occurred on Cyber Monday, an increase of 397% in terms of mobile buyers. This year, 166% more people shopped via mobile devices than last year. PayPal said its site saw 44% percent more payment volume on Cyber Monday 2012 than Black Friday 2012.
According to the Adobe Digital Index, the top 20 online retailers, including Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart, Facebook and Twitter accounted for over 77 percent of social media traffic on Cyber Monday, content sharing service Pinterest for 15 percent and others backed the remaining 8 percent.
Adobe has estimated that mobile sales will play a significant role this year, with growth of 110% to reach of all online sales. Adobe notes that two-thirds of these sales were made via tablets, and the other third through smartphones. And the Cyber Monday effect is slowly spreading to other parts of the world.
“We’re noticing the “Cyber Monday effect” slowly spreading to other parts of the world where they don’t celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday that typically serves as the shotgun start for US holiday shopping to begin. In Europe, Cyber Monday this year represented an 8% growth in online sales, still small in comparison to the United States, but gaining traction as US based global retailers expand their promotional strategies around the world,” Adobe says in the report.