Ecommerce Sets Records Over Cyber Weekend, Stores See Slight Declines

Total ecommerce sales reached $26.93 billion over Cyber Weekend, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Super Sunday and Cyber Monday, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as stores went in the opposite direction.

Cyber Monday’s online spending alone reached a record $9.4 billion, up 19.7% over last year’s $7.9 billion, making it the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., according to Adobe.

In-store sales and traffic fell off according to RetailNext, which reported a decrease of 0.9% in U.S. store sales and a 4.2% decline in store traffic compared to the same period in 2018.

On Black Friday, according to RetailNext, shopper traffic declined 2.1%, followed by a 2.6% drop on Small Business Saturday. On Sunday, it was down 11.2%.

Both in stores and online, a record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped over the five days, up 14% from 165.8 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

A record $7.4 billion in ecommerce sales were recorded on Black Friday, according to Adobe, up 19.6% from $6.2 billion last year. Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales also set a record at $4.2 billion, an increase of 14.5%, marking the first time it surpassed the $4 billion mark.

Shoppers spent $3.6 billion buying online on Small Business Saturday, an 18% increase over the 2018 total of $3.05 billion, Adobe said. This was exceeded by the Super Sunday total of $3.83 billion, an increase of 13% over $3.39 billion in 2018.

According to Adobe, $81.5 billion has been spent so far this season, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 2, representing 14% year-over-year growth from $71.5 billion last year. Online spending for the full 2018 holiday season reached $126 billion.

A surge in mobile and smartphone transactions was a significant factor over Cyber Weekend, with $3.1 billion coming from smartphones on Cyber Monday. Thirty-nine percent of Black Friday’s ecommerce sales, or $2.9 billion, came from smartphones, up 21% from 2018. About 45% of the record $4.2 billion in ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving Day came from smartphones, an increase of 24.4% over last year.

Adobe’s Cyber Monday findings also include:

  • On average, consumers’ shopping carts were 6% bigger at checkout on Cyber Monday.
  • On Cyber Monday consumers benefited from the best discounts on computers (18%), as well as deep deals on televisions (19%) and toys (17%). Top-selling products included “Frozen 2” toys, L.O.L Surprise dolls, Madden 20, Jedi Fallen Order, Nintendo Switch, VR Devices, Samsung TVs and Apple laptops. In an interesting bit of flotsam, more than 2.7 million pounds of weighted blankets have been sold online thus far this season.
  • On Cyber Monday, both large retailers ($1B+) and smaller ones (< $50M) did very well. The latter group saw an astounding 540% sales boost over an average day, while smaller retailers saw a 337% gain.
  • Consumers predominantly reached ecommerce sites on Cyber Monday either through paid search (24.1% of all visits, up 1.9% YoY) or organic search (22.5% of all visits, +7.9% YoY). While social networks saw a growing share of site visits (6.7%, up 15.1%), they weren’t a conversion machine, representing just 2.1% of all sales.
  • Between 10 p.m. Sunday and 2 a.m. ET Monday, consumers spent a record $2.9 billion. Consumers jumped all over time-sensitive deals, representing nearly a third of the day’s revenue in just four hours.
  • For the season to date, BOPIS orders grew 41%, with consumers 20% more likely to convert with retailers who offer it. On Cyber Monday, BOPIS retailers outperformed others by 45% in terms of conversions, but that was outdone by Black Friday, at a whopping 64%.

“Cyber Monday sales surged late last night as consumers established new records both in overall purchases and purchases made via smartphones,” said Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights. “The coming days will reveal if retailers will extend their holiday sales more than years past due to the shortest possible remaining shopping season till Christmas. Whatever the case, companies offering fast fulfillment options like free one-day shipping or buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) will be well positioned to help consumers purchase what they want in the few weeks left before Christmas.”

Aggressive promotions helped propel Cyber Monday gains, based on Adobe data, including televisions (average savings of 19%), toys (20%) and computers (18%).

Some major retail discounters over the weekend, according to Refinery29, included Madewell (10% off on Cyber Monday, on top of 30% savings); J. Crew (50% off); Cole Haan (up to 60% off plus an extra 10% on Cyber Monday); Asos (30% off everything); Gap (50% + 10%); Ulta Beauty (up to 50% off); and AllModern (up to 70% off).

Even though store traffic and sales were down, conversions were up 1.8% over the weekend, according to RetailNext. Black Friday by itself did see a store sales gain of 1.6% over last year, while Saturday was off 0.7% and Sunday was down a dismal 6.2%, the result of the largest traffic decrease.

“Generally speaking, retailers enjoyed a very strong start to the traditional holiday shopping season as Americans spent at a record level,” said Bridget Johns, chief marketing officer and head of growth strategies at RetailNext. “Thanksgiving Day started the weekend with very strong online shopping metrics, and it carried over into physical stores, particularly on Black Friday and on Saturday.”

Analytics firm ShopperTrak recorded similar results, with visitors to U.S. retail stores over Thanksgiving and Black Friday dropping 3% from last year, according to the Financial Times.

Adobe’s analysis is based on more than 1 trillion visits to retail sites and 55 million SKUs, including transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. ecommerce sellers.