According to Adobe, Thanksgiving and Black Friday online retail sales exceed $5 billion. More noteworthy in some ways is that mobile devices contributed a record $1.2 billion to that total on Black Friday alone.
There was mixed data on in-store traffic and sales, with some sources reporting an initial decline vs. last year and others reporting small in-store gains. However, on a percentage basis, online shopping growth far outpaced store traffic.
While retail analysts and the media focus on the distinctions between online and offline shopping and the particulars and trends associated with specific shopping days — Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. the horribly named Cyber Monday — consumers just focus on bargains and convenience. Individual shopping days have given way to “Cyberweek” deals, some of which started before Thanksgiving and continue this week. Many “Cyber Monday” promotions began yesterday.
Consumers are becoming much more agnostic about where they buy. Yet a huge percentage of online shopping is generated from the sites and apps of traditional retailers. This is one of the underreported stories of e-commerce today. As one example, Macy’s website was overloaded with traffic and unavailable multiple times on Black Friday.
Holiday shopping discounts are now typically the same offline and online, creating less urgency to come into stores. Accordingly, consumers are buying online from stores with physical locations so they can return products if they don’t work. Physical stores take the inconvenience and risk out of online shopping (with returns). These familiar retail brands also instill greater consumer confidence vs. many online pure plays.
Cyber Monday will exceed $2.5 billion in PC-based e-commerce and more than $1 billion on mobile devices, predicts comScore. According to estimates from the National Retail Federation, total retail sales this holiday will grow roughly 3.6, percent to nearly $656 billion. Much of that growth will come online.