Christmas Ecommerce

VeInsights: US E-Shoppers Tend to Spend not Browse on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

By Kathy Heslop

December 18, 2013 | 4 min read

Over the past decade Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become the most lucrative dates in the US retail calendar, and this year’s pre-Christmas season proved to be no exception.

According to IBM Digital Analytics, Cyber Monday sales have grown by 20.6 per cent on last year, further cementing its position as the biggest day on the calendar for shopping in the US. The figures also showed a massive uptake in mCommerce, as mobile accounted for 31.7 per cent of all Cyber Monday traffic, and over 17 per cent of total online sales – an increase of 55.4 per cent on last year.

This year, online sales from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday were up 16.5 per cent on 2012, the highest eCommerce yield over a five day period on record in the US. According to online retail tracker comScore Inc, shoppers in the US spent roughly $2bn on Cyber Monday alone, while research consultancy IHS Global Insight estimate that the total holiday online sales in the US will reach $81bn by year’s end - up 12.5 per cent from last year.

The significance of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period for American e-commerce is supported by analysis from VeInsights, a data-driven product from Ve Interactive. According to our data, the number of online sales recorded on Black Friday in the US was 70.1 per cent above the daily average for a three-week period, while the same number on Cyber Monday was 122.7 per cent above. Cyber Monday also had a drag effect on the following days, as consumers were rushing to make the most of special offers. For instance, the number of total online sales was 23 per cent above daily average on Tuesday 3 December, and 5.9 per cent on Wednesday December 4.

In line with our data from last year, the number of total baskets in the US saw a more modest uplift both on Black Friday (32.3 per cent above daily average) and Cyber Monday (62.1 per cent above daily average). The cart abandonment rates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday stood at 75.8 per cent and 74.1 per cent respectively, yet the daily average (for a three-week period) was somewhat higher at 81.1 per cent. Crucially, this shows that on both key online shopping dates American consumers were inclined to part with their dollars, rather than simply browse the merchandise.

Additionally VeInsights data showed that there were strong uplifts across most sectors during the period. On Black Friday, the sectors who experienced the biggest increases were Food and Drink (5 times the daily average), Beauty Products (3.7 times), Specialty Retailers (3.2 times), Consumer Electronics (2.4 times), and Clothing and Footwear (2 times). On Cyber Monday there was a strong increase in the number of online sales for Food & Drink (3.5 times to daily average), Beauty Products (3.5 times), Specialty Retailers (3.4 times), Clothing & Footwear (almost 3 times) Consumer Electronics (2.9 times), and Furnishing, Home & Office (2.6 times). On both key dates there have been significant, though somewhat more modest, uplifts in the number of total online baskets.

The record-breaking sales volumes on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2013, does not mean that these US consumers have confined their eCommerce activity to these dates alone. Our data shows minor uplifts above average on other dates as well (in particular, next Monday after Cyber Monday).

According to a recent study half of US consumers prefer to skip both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, choosing instead to spread their online shopping across the festive period. This may go some way towards explaining the uplift in sales on December 9 – a date which leaves American consumers only two full weeks to get their Christmas shopping delivered and gift-wrapped. Perhaps some consumers are happier than others to cut it close.

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