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Lengthier Black Friday, Cyber Monday Surpass Retail Expectations

  • Written by Fatima D. Lora


shutterstock_66655009-500wMany retailers opened their doors earlier on Black Friday this year. Consumers made their way to online and brick-and-mortar stores as early as Thanksgiving night in search of the best deals. In fact, approximately 29 million people shopped online and at stores on Thanksgiving Day — up from 22.2 million last year, according to a NRF blog post. In addition, retailers noted nearly one-quarter (24.4%) of Black Friday shoppers either waited until midnight for stores to open or visited retailers who opened on Thanksgiving evening.

“More consumers than ever turned out for retailers’ Black Friday promotions, a promising sign for the economic recovery,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “After an historic holiday weekend, retailers know the holiday season is far from over and will continue to look for ways to excite holiday shoppers and build on the momentum we’ve seen thus far.”

More and more, Black Friday spending includes online shopping. Digital research firm comScore noted a 26% increase in U.S. online holiday spending this year, with more than 50 million Americans shopping on retail web sites on Black Friday. Additionally, Thanksgiving Day online spending jumped 18% to $479 million.

“Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-Commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” said Gian Fulgoni, Chairman of comScore, in a press release. “With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels.”

Because online channels influence offline shopping behavior, consumers researched potential Black Friday deals prior to stepping into brick-and-mortar stores. Fifty million Americans visited online retail web sites on Black Friday, an increase of 35% from last year. The Top 5 retailers noting double-digit gains in site visitors in comparison to last year are the following:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Apple


“Each of the top 5 online retailers generated significantly greater Black Friday activity compared to last year,” said Fulgoni. “Amazon.com once again led the pack, with 50% more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year. However, the top multi-channel retailers also showed strong growth in visitors, demonstrating the importance of the online channel to the retail industry as a whole.”

On Cyber Monday, the retail analytics research division of IBM noted online sales were up 33% compared to 2010, as consumers increased the average order value up approximately 3%, from $193.24 to $198.26. Additionally, close to 11% of consumers visited an e-Commerce site via their mobile device, up from 4% in 2010. The web site visits triggered an increase in mobile sales, reaching 6.6% on Cyber Monday versus 2.3% in 2010. In a comparison of Cyber Monday 2011 and Black Friday 2011, IBM found Cyber Monday consumer spending increased approximately 29% over Black Friday.

Powering 36% of the top 100 mobile sites in the U.S., Usablenet reported that site visits for its retail and travel users were up more than 160% for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Another retailer, Fab.com, a recently launched online design marketplace, conducted more than $1.1 million in sales over the 4-day period. Additionally, Fab users placed more than 18,000 orders; and nearly half of all orders were from first-time Fab purchasers.

Providing more than 50 top retailers with mobile commerce software, Digby reported that its retail partners saw a more than 600% increase in Black Friday/Cyber Monday multi-channel mobile commerce sales. Some of Digby’s customers include Bed Bath and Beyond, Toys R Us, The Home Depot, Wet Seal and Orvis. Comparing year-over-year 2011 vs. 2010 results, Digby users reported that:

  • “Mobile Commerce Sales” increased up to 684% with the average being 204%
  • “Store Locator Visits” increased as much as 2,042% with the average being 1,506%
  • “Average Order Value” was as high as $228 with the average being $102
  • “Unique Visitors” increased as much as 218% with the average being 147%

CrossView, a cross-channel commerce solutions and retail technology provider, also reported positive Black Friday statistics for its retail clients. Collectively, Crossview retail clients saw online sales rise 28% between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year in comparison with last year’s sales. During the same four-day period, CrossView clients saw web site traffic spike 26%, with a 22% increase on Cyber Monday.

Additional findings from the IBM online retail benchmark study include:

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Cyber Monday online sales were up 29.3% over Black Friday.
  • The Mobile Bargain Hunter: On Cyber Monday, mobile traffic averaged 10.8% compared to 14.3% on Black Friday.
  • Mobile Sales: Consumer purchase of mobile devices reached 6.6% versus 9.8% on Black Friday.
  • The Apple Shopper: Apple’s iPhone and iPad continued to rank one and two for mobile device retail traffic (4.1% and 3.3% respectively). Android maintained its position in third at 3.2%. Collectively, iPhone and iPad accounted for 7.4% of all online retail traffic versus 10.2% on Black Friday.
  • The iPad Factor: Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device, with conversion rates reaching 5.2% compared to 4.6% in 2010
  • The Social Influence: Shoppers referred from social networks generated 0.56% of all online sales on Cyber Monday versus 0.53% on Black Friday.  Facebook led the pack, accounting for 86% of all social media traffic.
  • Social Media Chatter: Discussions on social media sites leading up to Cyber Monday increased in volume by 115% compared to 2010. Top areas of discussion focused on consumers sharing tips about using price comparison web sites while avoiding cyber scams; Cyber Monday deals for international consumers; and conversations about Black Friday in-store shopping experiences.

“Cyber Monday was once again the big winner for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, with a record number of consumers focused on finding the best online deals,” said John Squire, Chief Strategy Officer for IBM Smarter Commerce. “Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to adjust swiftly to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend.”

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