Cyber Monday continued to lead the charge this year for online spending during the Cyber Week period, per data from Adobe Analytics, rising to a new record.
Consumers spent $11.3 billion online on Cyber Monday, up from last year’s estimated $10.7 billion. This was considerably higher than what consumers spent on e-commerce sites on Black Friday ($9.12 billion, up from $8.9 billion) and Thanksgiving Day ($5.3 billion, up from $5.1). After e-commerce growth stalled on these key days last year, it appears that the upward climb has returned, although it should be noted that online sales were down on the day before Thanksgiving ($3.28 billion, from last year’s $3.7).
Conversion rates continued to be considerably higher on desktops than mobiles during Cyber Week. On Black Friday, the average desktop conversion rate was 5.6%, compared to 3.3% for mobiles. On Cyber Monday the desktop conversion rate was even higher, at 6.9%, versus 3.6% for mobile.
Here’s a look at the latest data from other sources concerning the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday:
- For its part, Salesforce reports that US online sales grew (+2%) on Thanksgiving eve, though not to the same extent as recorded on other key days. The highest rate of growth for the Cyber Week period was registered on Black Friday (+12%), with Cyber Monday (+7%) trailing. As for Thanksgiving Day, Salesforce reports a year-over-year increase in holiday sales of 8%. About 20-21% of online orders globally were picked up at the store from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to Salesforce’s data.
- Traffic to e-commerce stores around the world grew by 6.3% year-over-year on Black Friday, with sales up by 8.4%, according to Nosto’s analysis of more than 1,000 e-commerce stores. The peak hour for traffic was 16:00-17:00 UTC while the peak hour for conversions was 22:00-23:00 UTC, per the report.
- First-time buyers represented a minority (37% share) of online buyers across all analyzed retail categories on Black Friday. So says Bluecore, with this representing a departure from last year, when first-time buyers constituted a slight majority (52%) of e-commerce buyers. Overall, site traffic was up by 11% in Bluecore’s analysis, with Health & Beauty traffic registering a particularly large increase (+26%), while traffic to the Consumer Electronics vertical fell by 17%. Meanwhile, Cyber Monday traffic was up by 8% year-over-year, with orders growing by 5%, per the report.
- It wasn’t just e-commerce traffic that was up on Black Friday. According to RetailNext data, physical store traffic in the US grew by 7% on Black Friday, though that translated only to a 0.1% improvement in sales.
- A record 196.7 million Americans shopped in-store or online over the holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the NRF reports, up from last year’s 179.8 million and besting the previous peak of 189.6 million in 2019. The survey of more than 3,300 adults suggests that the number of people visiting brick-and-mortar stores grew by a healthy 17% year-over-year, while the number of online shoppers rose by a more modest 2%. Black Friday was the most popular day for both in-store shopping and online shopping, according to the survey’s results.
- Finally, data from Sensormatics also shows an increase in Black Friday in-store shopper traffic, by 3.1% over last year. A much larger jump in store traffic was registered on Thanksgiving Day, though, with a 17.2% climb. The peak time for Black Friday, as in years past, was between 1-3pm.
Previously Published Research: Forecasts
It’s that time of the year again. The holiday season is upon us, and that means… retail forecasts. Here’s a look at what the season has in store, according to some representative pieces of research.
The following list provides a brief review of some forecasts, showing the source, link, whether the forecast is higher (⬆︎) or lower (⬇︎) than last year’s, along with a highlighted takeaway or two.
- NRF: ⬇︎. Holiday retail sales will be healthy this year, but the forecast isn’t quite as strong as it was last year, according to the NRF. The industry body is calling for 6-8% year-over-year growth in holiday sales, as compared to the 8.5-10.5% rise that it predicted at this time last year. (Eventual growth was a record-breaking 13.5%.) This year, total sales are expected near a trillion dollars, with the projection coming in at between $942.6 and $960.4 billion. Online and other non-store sales are predicted to grow by 10-12% to a range of $262.8-$267.6 billion, which implies that these channels will account for 27-28% of total holiday retail sales.
- Deloitte: ⬇︎. Holiday retail sales aren’t going to have the same type of growth as forecast last year, Deloitte agrees. This year the firm predicts an increase of 4-6%, compared to last year’s forecast of a 7-9% year-over-year gain. (Deloitte says the actual rise was 15.1%.) Despite the overall projection being lower than last year, Deloitte expects that online retail sales will grow at about the same pace as they forecast last year. This year the forecast is for e-commerce sales growth of 12.8%-14.3% – to between $260 and $264 billion – whereas last year the firm called for an 11-15% hike.
Highlighted finding: In its holiday retail survey [pdf] of almost 5,000 consumers, Deloitte found that fewer will spend on non-gift items, while more will spend on experiences. Almost one-third will buy resale gifts this season.
- ICSC: ⬇︎. Holiday sales will grow, but the forecast isn’t as rosy as it was last year. This time, ICSC predicts a 6.7% rise in October-December retail sales, which comes in below last year’s 8.9% forecast increase.
Highlighted finding: In its accompanying survey of more than 1,000 respondents, ICSC reports that almost two-thirds (65%) will spend significantly more time looking for promotions this year, while 6 in 10 are willing to buy excess inventory in order to score a deal. There’s also been a big increase in the share of shoppers who plan to buy from brick-and-mortar retailers to pick up the items themselves.
- AlixPartners: ⬇︎. Last year, AlixPartners had the most optimistic of all forecasts, calling for growth of 10-13%. This year, not so much. The global consulting firm figures that sales will increase by a much more modest 4-7% this year, equating to a decrease in real sales if the inflation rate at the time (+8.3%) of the forecast were to hold.
Highlighted finding: In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers, AlixPartners discovered an appetite (reliance?) on sales this season, with almost 4 in 10 saying they would make at least half of their purchases on sale. Likewise, 4 in 10 plan to buy more affordable brands this year as a result of inflationary pricing.
- Adobe: ⬇︎ (Online spending). Online spending growth for this year’s holiday season (Nov-Dec) will be a very modest +2.5%, down from last year’s +8.6% and 2020’s pandemic driven +33%, according to Adobe’s forecast. Total online spending for the season is predicted to reach $209.7 billion. The firm adds that year-over-year growth could come anywhere between -2% and +5%, depending on factors such as “earlier discounts and more constrained spending.”
Highlighted finding: Cyber Week will account for about one-sixth (16.3% share) of the entire holiday season’s online revenue, with Cyber Monday expected to see the fastest year-over-year growth rate. Consumers are predicted to spend 26% of the day’s total revenue between the hours of 7 and 11PM PST, with the peak occurring from 8-9PM PST.
- NetElixir: ⬆︎ (Online spending). In contrast to Adobe, NetElixir predicts that e-commerce sales will rise by 7% year-over-year during the November and December holiday shopping period, slightly exceeding last year’s forecast of 6-7% growth. Aggregate e-commerce spending is expected to surpass 20% share of total retail sales.
Highlighted finding: The fastest-growing online sales days (+20% year-over-year) will be November 20, 21, 24, 25 and 28, as well as December 4, 5, 11, 12, and 18-22.