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Cyber Monday chalks up the biggest US online retail day to date

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan November 27, 2017
Cyber Monday met expectations and delivered a set of record numbers, particularly around mobile platforms.

OK, obligatory peek at how Cyber Monday performed. After Black Friday’s record stats from the US retail sector, it was predicted that yesterday would be the biggest online shopping day to date. And so it came to pass.

According to Adobe Digital Insights, Cyber Monday online sales hit a record $6.59 billion in sales, topping Friday’s $5.03 billion. Other stats of note from Adobe:

  • Overall web traffic to retail sites increased by 11.9% on Cyber Monday, with the season average at 5.7%.
  • Search drove 41.7% of online sales, with paid search on 22.9%, up 8.8% year-on-year, and organic search at 18.8%.
  • Direct traffic and email drove 24.8% and 24.9% of sales respectively.
  • Mobile made up 47.4% of website visits, 39.9% via smartphones and 7.6% from tablets.
  • Mobile transactions accounted for 33.1% of revenue, with 24.1% coming via smartphones and 9% from tablets.
  • Smartphone traffic specifically grew 22.2% year-on-year, while revenue coming from smartphones ($1.59 billion) was up 39.2% year-on-year.
  • Apple users spend more. For purchases made on smartphones, Apple iOS devices had an average order value (AOV) of $123, while Google Android uesrs parted with $110.

The smartphone data is particularly interesting, said Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe:

Shopping and buying on smartphones is becoming the new norm and can be attributed to continued optimizations in the retail experience on mobile devices and platforms. Consumers are also becoming more savvy and efficient online shoppers. People increasingly know where to find the best deals and what they want to purchase, which results in less price matching behavior typically done on desktops. Millennials were likely another reason for the dramatic growth in mobile, with 75% expecting to shop via their smartphone.

Another interesting indicator of the evolving nature of online retail - the period of peak activity in all US time zones was between 8pm and 11pm, when shoppers could reasonaly be expected to be at home or at least outside of the workplace. Cyber Monday became a thing originally due to people with poor domestic internet connections returning to their corporate networks after the Thanksgiving weekend and chasing bargains during the day.

Overall that means that the Thanksgiving holiday period has given the US retail sector a significant boost. Adobe notes:

November 23 through 26 totaled $13.03 billion, a 14.4% increase YoY. Thanksgiving Day spend totaled $2.87 billion (18.3% growth YoY) while Black Friday hit $5.03 billion (up 16.9% YoY). Thanksgiving weekend (November 25 and 26) saw $5.12 billion in revenue. Online spend surpassed at least $1 billion every day in the lead up to Thanksgiving.

And that uptick is expected to continue, according to Adobe:

For the rest of the season, 13 days are projected to exceed $2 billion in online sales bringing the total to 18 $2 billion days this holiday season, over double the number from last year.

My take

The smartphone data chimes with my own experience. I've done a lot of my Christmas shopping via the Amazon mobile app, which is a seamless, easy and quick transactional process. In contrast, I struggled to get the Argos mobile site to work as easily and just gave up on a mobile purchase from the Banana Republic site. Yes, smartphone shopping is the big growth trend this year, but it still accounts for a minority of online purchases. Until the user centricity of some retail sites is addressed and improved, the desktop will still have a lead in terms of online buying.

NRF - 2018 - big show
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