Traditionally the Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday has been stretched to Cyber Week, as online sales remained strong not just on that one day, but the entire five-day period ending December 2. Market research firm comScore reported that U.S. consumers spent nearly $6 billion online during this period, a 15% increase over 2010. Three days of the week (November 28-30) topped the billion-dollar sales mark: Monday ($1.25 billion), Tuesday ($1.12 billion) and Wednesday ($1.03 billion).
Why the Increase?
Well, for one, more people are shopping online now than they were even just a year ago. Eleven percent more people made a purchase online during Cyber Week this year compared with last. But the average purchase amount was also up by 9%, so people spent more overall online, too. The increased amount of promotional activity is most likely a driver – is it just me, or was the email bombardment consistent and constant all week? Every day, I woke up to a dozen emails from my favorite retailers, and while typically I might have unsubscribed to cut down on inbox clutter, I didn’t this year. I didn’t want to miss out on an even better offer! You’re giving me 30% off today, Banana Republic? I’m pretty sure you’ll send me one for 40% off, plus free shipping tomorrow.
Speaking of free shipping, that’s a huge part of this equation, too. According to comScore, 63% of all online transactions during Cyber Week included free shipping, an 11% increase compared with 2010. In their annual holiday shopping survey, more than one-third of respondents said that free shipping is “very important,” and they wouldn’t make a purchase without it, and nearly half said they would abandon their transaction if free shipping weren’t offered. With so many retailers offering it, free shipping has become practically an expected part of the online shopping experience.
Watching mobile’s meteoric rise this year has been fascinating, and the holiday season so far is no exception. Thanksgiving and Black Friday were big days for mobile, when people were spending time at the dinner table and with family instead of on their computers at work. According to IBM Benchmark, 14.3% of e-commerce sites’ traffic came from mobile devices on Black Friday, compared with 10.8% on Cyber Monday. And in terms of actual sales, 9.8% of Black Friday’s sales were from mobile, compared with 6.6% on Friday. This is a huge spike from 2010, when just 2.3% of sales came from mobile devices on Cyber Monday.
As marketers, we need to think of mobile, in-store and website shopping as complementary to one another, not cannibalizing, and it’s crucial to optimize the experience on each platform so that it’s intuitive enough to make that purchase easily. As shoppers – don’t be surprised if that credit card bill is higher than past years. With the ability to make a purchase anytime and from anywhere, self-control may be harder than usual this holiday season. But we don’t need to think about that until January. Happy shopping!