Online shoppers opened up their wallets in a big way today as spending soared off the charts, crowning Cyber Monday 2012 as the busiest online shopping day in history. Our Adobe Digital Index kept tabs on consumer shopping activity today and will continue to do so throughout the busy buying season. Here’s our Cyber Monday recap.

Total Online Sales

Cyber Monday online sales reached $1.98 billion, a 17% growth versus last year.  The actual results varied from our original prediction by less than 1%.

Brick-and-click retailers typically see better Black Friday sales than online-only retailers.  This trend turns out to hold true for Cyber Monday as well. Some notable differences between different types of retailers are included in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Cyber Monday Key Stats

Highest Revenue Retail Categories on Cyber Monday

The Toy & Sporting Goods category brought in the highest sales today, followed by Health & Beauty and Home & Auto.

The Cyber Monday Effect

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.

This data signals a change, which we had predicted to occur over a longer period of time, where online sales from both Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving weekend demonstrate robust growth. We attribute this behavioral change to two factors.  First, consumers are more willing to fill up their online basket to a higher dollar amount and complete the transaction in a shorter period of time.  Second, consumers have become savvy mobile shoppers.  We anticipate that the behavioral change will be followed by modifications to online promotional strategies as shopping behavior continues to move online.

Shopping On-the-Go

Mobile shopping has passed the tipping point.  So many images of this year’s Black Friday shoppers included pictures of people waiting in lines and looking at their phones and the showrooming phenomenon cannot be ignored.  We had originally predicted that mobile sales would double this year versus last year and our previous post on Black Friday demonstrated the power of mobile with $1 out of $4 spent online coming from a mobile device – tablet or smartphone.  Cyber Monday mobile behavior is described in Table 3 below:

Table 3:  Cyber Monday Key Mobile Stats

Adobe customers who have optimized for mobile have been able to accomplish even higher sales. Top performers achieved mobile sales of 30% on Cyber Monday, up 115% YoY.

Social Shoppers

Social marketing is an area of interest to most marketers, but in terms of driving the final visit or purchase to a retailer, it is still a low percentage of the overall representing 2% of total visits which has increased by 100% YoY. Within the social networking space, Pinterest has been the biggest winner, doubling in referral share since last year (see Table 4).  These findings are consistent with Black Friday and are expected to remain true throughout the holiday season.

Table 4: Social Referral Share on Cyber Monday

In general, we expect retailers to bring in $6 billion in overall online sales since Thanksgiving day.  This figure still represents nearly 10% of the total spend for the time period which was estimated by the National Retail Federation at almost $60 billion (excluding Cyber Monday). However, with overall growth rates for holiday spending in the low single digits, online shopping’s continued double-digit growth appears to be an unstoppable force.

You can keep tabs on holiday activity as-it-happens via our interactive online shopping prediction website here and read more about our holiday shopping data insights in the following blog posts: