Should European retailers adopt this American shopping tradition?

As part of Adobe’s Digital Index team, I’ve been analyzing holiday shopping patterns to no end. We hear from our European counterparts that Cyber Monday is starting to catch on as more retailers across the pond start to mimic some of the promotions and discounts given by their U.S. counterparts. Predictive analytics tells us that the typical European retailer should expect a 56% spike in online sales this Cyber Monday, but that’s nothing compared to the 194% above normal sales the typical US retailer will see. So duh, European retailers need to jump on the bandwagon, right?

Hold on. I’m not sure. If you overlay normalized European sales on top of US online sales you see that European retailers do much better during the first few weeks of November. In fact European retailers bring in about 7.5% of their total annual online sales during these weeks while US retailers will only see 6%. That alone more than makes up for the bounce US retailers see later during the Thanksgiving weekend. During November, European retailers will capture 10.5% of the entire year’s online sales revenue and their US counterparts will see only 9.5%.


So what’s the rub? It’s difficult to say whether Cyber Monday sales are incremental or if US consumers have learned to wait until the deals hit during Thanksgiving weekend to start shopping.

In 2012, however, the Cyber Monday shopping tradition is sure to be a good thing for the industry as a whole. This year there will be more days between Cyber Monday and Christmas than we’ve seen the last four years and since Cyber Monday serves as a catalyst to jump start holiday shopping, more days equals more money. With 29 days between Cyber Monday and Christmas, shoppers will have 2 more days to shop this year than last, but most won’t realize it. Those 2 extra days alone will translate into more than $1 billion in additional online sales. Next year, US retailers might be singing a different tune about Cyber Monday, as it will effectively shorten the holiday shopping season by 5 days or 17% because it will come so late in season.

So whether or not our friends across the pond decide to open up their wallets a little more next Monday, I’m still seeing a very merry season to come for all retailers with their overall sales predicted to grow both here and abroad. Check out our Online Shopping Prediction tool and you can analyze the differences between US and European online shopping by conversion rates, average price paid, and visits, as well as the online sales numbers I’ve shown above. Fol­low me @tyrwhite, and I’ll keep you posted on everything else I’m learning from this data set.