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: