Black Friday into ‘Cyber Monday’

Somebody really needs to invent another term for “Cyber Monday.” Cyber connotes Sci-Fi (as in the 1980s novel Cyberpunk) and the Internet is now more like a toaster than something otherworldly.

Anyway, e-commerce and offline sales were pretty decent according to various reports out this weekend and this morning. The NY Times reports:

Consumers began looking for discounts early, with more of them visiting stores this year before dawn. An estimated 31.2 percent of shoppers were at stores by 5 a.m., compared with 23.3 percent who were at stores by that time last year, according to the federation’s survey, which was conducted by BIGresearch . . .

The National Retail Federation said shoppers’ destination of choice appeared to be department stores, with almost half of holiday shoppers visiting at least one, a nearly 13 percent increase from last year. Discount retailers were also top choices, attracting some 43.2 percent of shoppers.

As for online sales, comScore, the Internet research company, said retail e-commerce spending for the first 27 days of the holiday season, this year Nov. 1 to 27, rose 3 percent, to $10.57 billion, compared with the period last year. Online sales on Friday were $595 million, up 11 percent from last year.

The most popular purchases of the weekend were clothing and books, according to the federation. And many more consumers bought toys, up nearly 13 percent from last year. More shoppers also bought sporting goods, beauty items and gift cards. The NPD Group said its research showed the three hottest categories to be electronics, clothing and movies.

Here’s more on the comScore data:

A national retail federation survey shows that people also plan to shop online this week but much of the behavior, which originally took place at work (on Monday) because of high-speed connections has now shifted to home (where “broadband” is now prevalent). Just as with offline sales much of that behavior will be driven by deep discounts and special promotions:

survey released last week found that nearly nine in ten (87.1%) retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 83.7 percent last year and 72.2 percent in 2007. The most popular promotions are expected to be specific deals (42.9%), one-day sales (32.9%), and free shipping on all purchases (15.7%). Half of retailers (50.0%) will distribute promotions and deals to shoppers through a special Cyber Monday email.

While some Cyber Monday shoppers will choose to shop from the office, the large majority will shop from living rooms and kitchens all across the country.* According to the survey, 91.5 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers – or 88.2 million Americans – will shop from home on Cyber Monday while 13.5 percent, or 13 million people, will shop from work. (A Shop.org/BIGresearch survey released last week estimated that 69 million Americans would shop from work at some point during the holiday season.) 

According to the survey, 3.8% of people will use mobile devices on “Cyber Monday” (5% of men and 7.3% of 18-34 year olds). 

Shopping engine TheFind reported a significant increase in mobile lookups on Friday:

Searches from mobile devices jumped from around 5,000 on Black Friday in 2008 to roughly 200,000 this year, said Siva Kumar, chief executive of TheFind.com, a product search engine.

According to Hitwise, Amazon was the most visited site among the top 500 retail sites on Friday:

  • Among the top 500 Retail Web sites, the percentage of U.S. visits were up 4% on Black Friday 2009 versus Thanksgiving Day 2009. Year-over-year the visits were down 9% compared to Black Friday 2008. The U.S. traffic to Black Friday sites on  Black Friday was up 9% compared to 2008.
  • The top visited Retail Website on Black Friday 2009 was Amazon receiving  13.55 % of U.S. visits among the top 500 Retail Web sites. This is the second year in a row that  Amazon was the top visited site on Black Friday.
  •  Wal-Mart was the second most visited with 11.18 % of visits followed by Target.com with 5.65%, BestBuy.com with 4.62%. followed by Sears with 2.95%. 

Source: Experian Hitwise

I would argue that to this day, other than the traditional retailers, Amazon (maybe eBay) is the only online shopping “brand,” hence the traffic and sales. I would also argue that a large percentage of the traditional retailer site visits is “multi-channel”: people checking prices before heading into stores to buy items. 

Just to “check out the scene,” and to get my hands on a Motorola Droid, I went into my local Best Buy on Friday; it was a complete madhouse. I saw people doing price checks and lookups on smartphones and saw one woman using a barcode scanner app on a TV price tag to do the same.

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One Response to “Black Friday into ‘Cyber Monday’”

  1. Charlie Says:

    Interesting info on the mobile lookups. It is wise to make sure your site has a mobile version.
    Steals.com autoloads a mobile version. WordPress has all sorts of plugins that make it a snap.
    -Charlie

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