While many reports indicated that, overall, in-store shopping for Thanksgiving weekend was slightly off, data from the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) offers this bright spot: Online shopping on Cyber Monday hit $2.29 billion in sales, which is less than 1% off ADI’s original prediction and up 16% year-over-year (YOY).
According to ADI numbers (based on an examination of 3 billion visits to retail Web sites this past weekend), online sales for the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday broke all previous records—a good indication that e-commerce is becoming the shopping activity of choice in today’s digital world.
More encouraging results for retailers: Total online sales since Thanksgiving Day are up 26% YOY, to a whopping $7.4 billion, which amounts to more than 10% of retailers’ total holiday sales. Though traditional brick-and-click retailers dominated Thanksgiving weekend, Internet retailers battled back Monday in the war for holiday shopping dollars with 42% of the day’s total sales—$961 million (Web) vs. $801 million (brick-and-click).
Shopping patterns this season certainly have taken some unexpected twists, as retailers delivered promotions in waves and opened stores earlier on Thanksgiving Day. Although the promotions, in-store changes, and earlier shopping hours dramatically impacted Black Friday—pushing online sales up 39% YOY—Cyber Monday shopping patterns were consistent with previous years. Cyber Monday sales peaked between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, with sales in that hour alone totaling $150 million.
Social Sentiment Abounds
Along with the overall shopping sales numbers, sentiment in social media conversations for the weekend provided some interesting data about retailers and brands. Indications are, for instance, that the Samsung Galaxy tablet could be a big winner this year, as social sentiment for this brand name ranked highest with an average score of 6.4 out of 10. What’s more, ADI found that the volume of buzz about the new Kindle Fire HDX began low on Thanksgiving weekend, but increased 168% on Cyber Monday. The iPad continued to have the most overall buzz of any tablet or gaming console.
The gap in total buzz between the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox shrunk since the weekend, likely due to the shift in focus from electronics to other products on Cyber Monday.
Finally, retailer social media sentiment indicates consumers seem to love apparel retailers the most. The highest positive sentiment went to LL Bean (6.5), Banana Republic (6.4), and Forever 21 (6.0).
Social Media Referrals Rock!
While ADI has previously reported that social media plays more of an influencer role in the buying process, during the past five days $150 million in revenue came from social media referrals. Twitter referrals have grown the most, with a 24% increase YOY. Pinterest came in with 17% growth, and Facebook posted 12% growth. Overall, social media referrals remain flat, at 2%, with other networks, such as Tumbler, Reddit, Blogger, and YouTube, down against last year.
Mobile Plays Supporting Role
Mobile shattered previous records on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday at an average sales contribution of 24% and contributed to 80% growth in mobile sales YOY. On Cyber Monday, mobile played a lesser role, as consumers seemed more than happy to sit at their work computers or at home with their laptops in the evening hours and shop. Even at the 18.3 percentage of sales on Cyber Monday, however, the total sales attributed to a tablet or smartphone this Cyber Monday was $419 million ($290 million from tablets and $129 million from smartphones). Twenty-nine percent of visits to retailers’ Web sites came from smartphones, but these visitors converted to sales at a much lower rate than did tablets or desktop users.
Cyber Mall Of America
Interestingly, the states with the highest percentage of sales from mobile devices were not the wealthiest ones. Alaska and Hawaii, which have a lower percentage of desk workers, tied for first place, with 26.6% of sales coming from tablets and smartphones. North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (also the highest on Cyber Monday in revenue per visit online) rounded out the top five.
Green Monday On The Horizon
We do not expect the increase in Thanksgiving Day dollars to take away any incremental business from the reminder of the holiday season. However, moving forward, retailers must continue to break records in order to make up the potential loss of $1.5 billion due to a six-day shorter selling season this year.
Looking ahead, online sales will peak again next Monday (called Green Monday, a term coined by eBay), and many countries will experience their own Cyber Monday events.