Retail sales during Cyber Monday further emphasized the new reality that informed Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday: the holiday shopping season has now been dominated by the online, and in particular the mobile, shopper.
In total, online sales on Monday, Nov. 30 reached $3.07 billion, a rise of 16% over Cyber Monday sales in 2014, according to the Adobe Digital Index. The boost in sales actually outperformed initial expectations, that revenue would increase 12%. In total, Adobe revealed that online sales for the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday totaled $11.11 billion, a 17% jump from 2014 and 2.4% higher than initial expectations.
Along with the sales jump, total orders for the weekend increased 14.6%, with average order value climbing 1.6%, according to the Custora E-Commerce Pulse.
Increases in both revenue and average order value illustrate that e-Commerce has truly gained ground on its brick-and-mortar counterpart, all while online retailers are limiting their discount-driven promotions.
While e-Commerce success has been an apparent theme throughout the weekend, the industry’s biggest pure play name shrouded its results in secrecy. Amazon only revealed its top items sold throughout the holiday season, noting simply that the weekend was “the best ever for Amazon devices.” While big box companies like Target and Walmart have been more willing to share some of their online traffic results, perhaps as a result of their respective site outage and slowdown, Amazon appears dead set on keeping quiet as the holiday season kicks further into gear.
However, ChannelAdvisor, an Amazon channel partner, revealed in a blog post that the e-Commerce giant experienced a whopping 24.1% year-over-year increase in sales, with a 21.1% boost on Cyber Monday.
Mobile Sales Hit Nearly $800 Million
If there is one piece of advice retailers can take from this holiday’s consumer shift, it’s that they must continue to optimize the mobile experience, whether through their mobile site or individual apps. Sales made via mobile devices reached a volume record of $799 million, according to Adobe, accounting for 26% of total online sales.
While the sales totals are impressive, it is the mobile traffic increase that further demonstrates the direction of the constantly connected consumer. The IBM Watson Trend Report revealed that mobile traffic accounted for 47.9% of all online traffic throughout the weekend, nearly matching the traffic of desktop users.
Walmart indicated that nearly half of its holiday shopping orders were placed through mobile devices from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.
“Mobile firmly established itself as the dominant shopping trend, for both traffic and sales,” said Fernando Madeira, President and CEO of Walmart.com, in a statement. “Mobile is making up more than 70% of traffic to Walmart.com, and now, nearly half of our orders since Thanksgiving have been placed on a mobile device — that’s double compared to last year. Our customers went from previously mostly searching and browsing on mobile, to making purchases at a much higher rate.”
The fact remains, consumers are with their mobile devices — either a smartphone or a tablet — at just about all times of the day, and are likely to take the closest route to a retail browsing, and now a buying, experience.
As E-Commerce Succeeds, Brick-And-Mortar Shopping Slips
As more shoppers shifted to online shopping during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, they took less time visiting their favorite stores. In fact, U.S. store sales throughout the five-day stretch actually decreased 4.7%, while in-store traffic dipped 5.1%, according to data from RetailNext.
ShopperTrak data was even more downbeat regarding brick-and-mortar’s performance, estimating that store sales declined 10.4% during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Sunday, Nov. 29.
However, while fewer people are entering stores than last year, sales per shopper did slightly bump up. By 0.3%, while average transaction value jumped 3.1%. In other words, people that are making the effort to shop in stores throughout the weekend are more apt to buy additional gifts, or select high-ticket items that boost basket sizes.
“The results for physical retail are generally positive when considering the growing influence of digital shopping, particularly in the mobile channel,” said Shelley Kohan, VP of Retail Consulting at RetailNext. “Over the holiday weekend, there were patterns of strong results for retailers with less effective digital channels, and they outperformed on the brick-and-mortar side of the business. Of course, the flip side was true for brands with strong digital presences who offered a seamless multichannel experience, and it’s those brands that have a head start into retail’s most important season.”
Amid E-Commerce Hype, Small Business Saturday Brings Record Sales To Main Street Merchants
While e-Commerce has continued to be the topic everyone has focused on following the holiday weekend, physical stores still did have a major impact, especially during Small Business Saturday. More than 95 million consumers shopped at SMB retailers on Saturday, Nov. 28, marking an 8% increase over 2014, according to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from NFIB and American Express. Total spending for the day increased 14%, with 31% of the day’s shoppers attending a community event.
The increase in spending and engagement validated the massive social efforts undertaken by small business owners, local organizations and local governments. Using hashtags such as #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall throughout social media platforms, these retailers successfully drove consumers from the Internet to their doorsteps. As these SMBs look forward to 2016, they can study the social engagement patterns revealed throughout the lead-in to the day, and use these strategies for promotions throughout the year.