Cyber Monday Online Sales Dip 1.4%

cyber monday letters

Watch out for falling growth.

Like its holiday twin Black Friday, Cyber Monday in the U.S. saw ecommerce sales reverse course for the first time in memory, according to Adobe Digital Insights, dropping 1.4% from 2020 ($10.8 billion to $10.7 billion). Consumers en masse have heeded warnings about the danger of stock-outs on digital shelves amid supply chain-fueled inventory shortages by shopping earlier than usual.

Even still, Cyber Monday remained the biggest ecommerce day of the year to date, logging $12 million in sales every minute during the peak hour of 11 p.m. to midnight on the East coast.

The so-called Cyber Five (Thanksgiving through Monday) saw an identical drop of 1.4% in ecommerce sales volume from 2020 to $33.9 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Black Friday was down 1.3% at $8.9 billion vs. $9 billion, while Thanksgiving Day online sales were flat at $5.1 billion.

“With early deals in October, consumers were not waiting around for discounts on big shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday,” said Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights. “This was further fueled by growing awareness of supply chain challenges and product availability. It spread out ecommerce spending across the months of October and November, putting us on track for a season that still will break online shopping records.”

During the month of November through Monday, U.S. consumers have spent $109.8 billion online, up 11.9% from last year, according to Adobe Digital Insights data. A record 22 days have exceeded $3 billion in ecommerce sales, while only nine 9 days in 2020 hit that level.

The hot categories on Cyber Monday were toys (up nearly 11x vs. September), gift cards (up 7x), books (up 7x), video games (up 6x), baby/toddler products (up 6x) and appliances (up 5.6x).

Cyber criminals seem to be having a merry peak season thus far, according to fraud prevention firm Sift, which reviewed transaction data from more than 30,000 apps and ecommerce sites. Omnichannel retailers were hit with a 62% increase in attempted payment fraud from Black Friday through Cyber Monday vs. 2020, in 2021, while seeing account takeover (ATO) attacks grow an eye-popping 3,000%; pure-play ecommerce sellers saw “only” a 2.5x increase in ATO attempts.

And on the logistics end, the U.S. Postal Service appears to be on its game, embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told the Wall Street Journal. He said the USPS is prepared to handle up to 50 million packages daily after significant tech and facilities upgrades and hires, a 35% increase from a disastrous 2020. The federal carrier outperformed both UPS and especially FedEx in terms of on-time delivery in Q3, at 96.4% vs. 95.2% and 83.5%, respectively, according to Shipmatrix data.