Adobe reported that Cyber Monday hit a new record as the largest U.S. online sales day in history, with $6.59 billion in sales, up 16.8% from $5.6 billion in 2016.
According to Adobe, Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day brought in $5.03 billion and $2.87 billion, respectively. The holiday shopping season so far has totaled $50 billion in online revenue, again a 16.8% increase and more than $1 billion per day. Adobe is predicting this will be the first-ever holiday season to break $100 billion in online sales.
“This past Cyber Monday, the behavior of shopping your work computer during the day is almost completely reversed,” said Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights. “This year, mobile shopping was dominant both in the morning and afternoon, and desktop only staged a comeback in the evening when people were home.”
Web traffic to retail sites increased by 11.9% on Cyber Monday, nearly double the holiday season average to date (5.7%). Mobile set a new record with its first $2 billion sales day. Smartphones accounted for 37.6% of retail visits and 21.3% of revenue, Adobe said, while tablets were used more as entertainment. Gaming devices accounted for 8.2% of retail visits and 9.1% of revenue on Cyber Monday.
The average mobile conversion rate was 12% higher compared to Cyber Monday 2016. Average order value was $133, up just 0.1% from last year. Apple iOS led with an average order value of $123, compared to $110 for Google’s Android.
The average conversion rate on smartphones for Cyber Monday was 3.5%, according to Adobe, up 10.1% from 2016. For tablets, the conversion rate was 6.4%, up 8% from last year; desktop conversion rates hit 7.1%, up 7.6% year-over-year.
Search was again the top promotion driver, accounting for 42.6% of online sales for Cyber Monday (23.3% for paid search, 19.3% for organic search). Direct traffic and email drove 25.5% and 24% of sales, respectively.
“Shopping and buying on smartphones is becoming the new norm and can be attributed to continued optimizations in the retail experience on mobile devices and platforms,” said Mickey Mericle, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe.
Gina Ashe, CEO of ThirdChannel, said despite retailers’ optimistic comments over the weekend about online success and steady in-store traffic, doubts remain about brick-and-mortar performance through the rest of the holiday shopping season.
“The vast majority visit stores only after researching products and gifts ahead of time, so they expect staff to tell them something they don’t know about a product, or give them an immersive demo or experience that can’t be replicated online,” Ashe said.
She added if brands don’t prepare staffing, displays and inventory to demonstrate that value when shoppers hit their store, they’re bound to lose interest.
Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, Vice President and Principal Analyst for Forrester Research, said Cyber Weekend was extraordinary for online retailers. Sales growth from Thanksgiving through Sunday topped Forrester’s average holiday growth estimate of 12%. “The five days from last Thursday through Cyber Monday should be 14% of the total holiday spend,” Mulpuru-Kodali said.
The good news, she said, is that consumer confidence is high and retailers have been aggressive with site-wide or category-wide discounts, encouraging shoppers to open their wallets.
“One point to note is that all of the data points around mobile transactions suggest that mobile shopping growth may be peaking,” said Mulpuru-Kodali. “About one-third of transactions are happening on mobile devices including tablets and that is about the same number as last year.”
She said hopefully retailers haven’t forgotten the importance of the desktop experience which still matters for a lot of shoppers and has higher conversion rates in general.
According to the National Retail Federation, 175 million Americans shopped in stores and online during Cyber Weekend, besting its earlier estimate of 164 million, with 96% of them making purchases. The average spending per person was $335.47, with 75% of it going toward gifts. The biggest spenders were older millennials (25-34), at an average of $419.52.
Throughout the weekend, retailers’ technology investments paid off, as consumers shopped on all platforms. The NRF said more than 64 million Americans shopped both online and in-store, with 58 million shopping online only, and 51 million just shopping in stores. Multichannel shoppers spent $82 more on average than online-only shoppers, and $49 more on average than those who only shopped in stores.
The most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday (77 million consumers), followed by Small Business Saturday (55 million). Cyber Monday saw 81 million online shoppers, compared to 66 million on Black Friday.
“This year, consumers 65 and older proved that online shopping isn’t just for Generation Z and Millennials,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President of Prosper. “However, younger millennials under 34 leveraged their smartphones the most to browse for the best deals from some of their favorite retailers.”
The NRF survey found that 11% of consumers shopped before 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while another 11% started at 6 p.m. On Black Friday, 25% started at 10 a.m. or later. On Cyber Monday, 75% used their computers at home, 43% used a mobile device and 13% shopped on computers at work.
Sixty percent of respondents told the NRF that a majority of their purchases were driven by deals on Cyber Monday, while 48% said they were better than earlier in the season. Department stores were the top shopping destination (43%), followed by online retailers (42%), electronics stores (32%) clothing and accessories stores (31%) and discount stores (31%).
Some of the most popular gifts purchased included clothing and accessories (58%), toys (38%) books and other media (31%), electronics (30%) and gift cards (23%), according to NRF’s s data.
According to a NetElixir study, ecommerce growth was 15% over the weekend year-over-year. Search spend year-over-year growth was at 18% and mobile devices accounted for 67% of all searches and 37% of all purchases,
Even though many were declaring the demise of Cyber Monday, NetElixir found it to be the biggest shopping day of the weekend. Orders increased 33% year-over-year and search impressions were up over 50%.
Over the entire weekend, the most popular times of the day to buy were 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, according to NetElixir. Clicks were up by 19% while impressions were up by 27% from 2016.
NetElixir found that desktop contributed to 63% of overall sales over Cyber Weekend. However, smartphones and tablets surpassing desktop in terms of visitor share. Sixty-seven percent of retail site traffic from search engines occurred on mobile devices.
Mobile purchases also surpassed desktop for some categories like beauty and cosmetics (58%) and gained on desktop in other categories like apparel with 43%.
How Amazon Did Over the Holiday Weekend
Amazon said Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company’s history and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Amazon app orders on Cyber Monday increased more than 50%, worldwide year-over-year. The bestselling item on Amazon was the Echo Dot during Cyber Monday.
Ancestry DNA was one of the top selling items on Amazon during Cyber Monday, selling 700% more kits in one day than the entire holiday period last year, said Vineet Mehra, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ancestry.
John Fetto, Senior Analyst, Research and Marketing for Hitwise, said Amazon was the big winner over the holiday weekend. The company processed 5.6 million transactions on Thanksgiving Day and another 7.1 million on Black Friday.
Business Insider reported that Amazon accounted for 45% of online transactions among 50 top retailers on Thanksgiving and 55% of them on Black Friday.
Many of the top products were Amazon’s own, including the Echo, Fire TV Stick and Fire Tablet. Amazon also bundled other smartphone products with the Echo, helping propel the TP-Link Smart Plug into the top five items on both Thursday and Friday, with 185,000 sold, according to Business Insider.
Other top-selling items over Cyber Weekend included the Keurig K55 and Keurig k-cups from Green Mountain. The Instant Pot pressure cooker was another hot ticket, with 106,000 sold by Amazon on Thanksgiving and Black Friday alone. 23andMe’s DNA kit sold over 65,000 kits on Amazon during Black Friday; it was also a top 10 item on Prime Day.
Social Media Over the Weekend
Cyber Monday-related terms and hashtags totaled 422,782 messages from Nov. 20-27, according to Sprout Social, with a potential reach of 10.2 billion. This compared to 2.1 million Black Friday-related messages, with a potential reach of 29 billion. While promotion ramped up steadily during the previous week, messages spiked on Cyber Monday itself, with 244,729 messages sent and 18.5 million retweets, earning 997,823 replies and 27.1 million likes.
The top positive hashtags included #bestprice and #deals, according to Sprout. While Black Friday saw 63% of messages posted from mobile devices, this fell to 48% on Cyber Monday. The U.S. had the highest message volume, with 135,223 Cyber Monday-related messages.
Facebook released its own holiday weekend insights. Worldwide, more than 130 million people took part in shopping-related conversations on Facebook and Instagram over Cyber Weekend, beating out the 2017 Super Bowl.
Small Business Saturday was the second most talked-about day after Black Friday, with #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal two of the top hashtags on Instagram. Other top hashtags on both platforms included #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday and #SmallBusinessSaturday.
Women aged 35-54 drove the social conversation on Black Friday, Facebook said. Men aged 18-34 were more likely to talk about Cyber Monday shopping and deals.
Throughout the weekend, videos were popular among people and businesses alike. There were 450 million views of Black Friday-related videos. On Instagram, more than one in three businesses posted stories over the weekend.
The most engaged states on Facebook and Instagram were Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, Facebook said. Ninety million people were talking about Cyber Weekend, generating 226 million interactions, compared to 52 million and 143 million, respectively, on Instagram.