Cyber Monday? More like Cyber Week, as sales record is smashed in the US

The online love affair just gets more intense. Expect more records to be broken once full sales data on Cyber Monday is ready. For now we know it was the busiest day in the US calendar for Internet shopping. It has been for a few years and it retained that status this time.

So what are the numbers (and be warmed, there are A LOT of numbers in this story)?

Sales jumped 14% year-on-year to $490m between midnight and 10:00, according to estimates by Adobe Digital Index. Obviously, lots of shoppers stayed up late/got up early and even shopped (presumably on smartphones) during the morning commute.

The Custora E-Commerce Pulse reported that Cyber Monday revenue as of noon EST was up 15.8% year-on-year, with transaction volumes up 16.4%. IBM predicted Cyber Monday sales would grow by more than 18%.

Adobe tracked 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 US retailers and said sales were on track to meet its expectation of a record $3bn by the end of the day, an 11.9% increase from last year’s $2.68bn.

The data underscored the more general on-going shift in shopping to online,particularly around big shopping events. Between Thanksgiving Day and Sunday, $8.03bn was spent online, up 17% on-year, Adobe said. The average shopper spent $135.25, up 4% from a year ago.

Did mobile fulfill its promise? Yes. Mobile accounted for 53% of shopping visits driving 32% of online sales, the data showed. Twenty percent of the total takings were via smartphones and 12% on a tablet, again reflecting an on-going shift away from tablets and towards phones.

However, Cyber Monday has now become more like Cyber Week as Black Friday now begins earlier and earlier in November and shopping online is a key part of it.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are merging into one giant cyber shopping period,” Jerry Storch, CEO of Hudson’s Bay, told Associated Press. “It begins Thanksgiving and runs Cyber Monday, sometimes ’til the end of the week.”

Cyber Monday, he said, is still a major volume day. “Keep in mind that the Internet is continuing to grow double digits.” But he did say that Cyber Monday would have been much more robust than it was, were it not for the fact that Cyber Monday deals were being offered days in advance.

That view is reflected in what happened industry-wide. Adobe found the average discount online was 23% and that 15 out of every 100 products were out of stock on Cyber Monday, two-and-a-half times the normal rate, given the large number of online deals in the days leading up to yesterday.

Website outages and slow checkouts were notably on Monday but they were also a feature of the overall five-day shopping spree starting Thanksgiving Thursday. Target, PayPal, Neiman Marcus, Wal-Mart Stores, Victoria’s Secret, and Foot Locker all had outages.

But despite the five-day ‘event’, Cyber Monday was the busiest and retailers need to make sure they have enough stock next year. Target said Cyber Monday volume on its site was twice as high as that of Black Friday, which had been the retailer’s busiest online day ever. The rush put the site out of commission for about 30 minutes, displaying the message: “Please hold tight. So sorry, high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP.”


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