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.