Although brick and mortar store employees are still sweeping up the aisles and sifting through the rubble left by the frenzy of discount shoppers, an overwhelmingly large number of savvy shoppers opted to take their deal hunting home this past Friday for some online shopping. This year, early predictions for the unofficial holiday of “Black Friday” and its counterpart “Cyber Monday” were lofty, anticipating record-breaking sales for nearly every industry. In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at the actual sales numbers and see how they stacked up against some bold forecasting.
Thanksgiving – November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving Day hasn’t always been considered a big part of the holiday shopping boom. However, a late Thanksgiving makes for a short sale season, meaning online shoppers were waiting with tablets in hand as the turkey roasted in the oven. Adobe predicted that this year’s Thanksgiving would mark the first time in history that ecommerce spend would exceed one billion dollars on the day of the holiday–and they were right. Sales reached $1.06 billion–just $32 million short of their original prediction.
Even though sales numbers fell just short of expectation, the ecommerce turnout on Thanksgiving was still a record-shattering event. Between 2011 and 2012, Thanksgiving sales increased 32% year over year according to a comScore report. Between 2012 and this year, there was a 67.5% increase. While this year’s Thanksgiving Day sales boon can be, in part, attributed to the holiday being uncommonly pressed up against December holidays, sales exceeding one billion dollars are rarely ignored. Expect Thanksgiving to become a key component in companies’ holiday sales tactics moving forward.
Black Friday – November 29, 2013
Once characterized by long lines and camping out on sidewalks, the modern “Black Friday” has evolved into a huge day for ecommerce. While crowds still flock to the mall, tons of people are abandoning the long lines to stay home and capitalize on great prices without braving the chilly November air. This year, sales predictions reached $1.628 billion dollars–a record-breaking figure in itself. As they tend to do, shoppers broke this record by transacting over $1.93 billion online, a 39% increase over last year’s expenditures.
The way in which the nearly 2 billion dollars were spent is a little different from last year. In line with the sweeping theme of a transition to mobile, transactions from smartphones and tablets increased by 219% percent over Black Friday 2012. These devices pulled in 369% more revenue this year, making mobile engagement strategies more important than ever.
Cyber Monday – December 1, 2013
Cyber Monday is indisputably the single most important day of the year in ecommerce. Annual sales reports are made or broken on the Monday following Thanksgiving and, judging by the numbers, it looks like this Monday was another exciting event for store owners. Although cart abandonment rates remained just as high as ever, collected revenue was gigantic. Adobe predicted–with impressive accuracy–the $2.29 billion that would move through the Internet in a single day, breaking last year’s record numbers by over 15%.
Taking a look at how people spent their money this year paints a fairly clear picture of a consumer that’s becoming increasing tech-savvy. Mobile devices accounted for 21% of all Cyber Monday sales, meaning a good number of people are either shopping on the go or picking up gifts via tablet from the comfort of the living-room sofa. Given the positive trend of smartphone and tablet adoption and a decline in desktop computer sales, it should be no surprise that sales from mobile devices are seeing more growth than their desktop counterparts.
While the numbers for Cyber Monday 2013 are impressive on their own, one can’t help but wonder about what could have been if the event went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, due to a glitch in the banking systems that support RBS and NatWest customers, millions of potential shoppers were locked out of their finances for hours starting at 6:30pm–a prime shopping period for UK consumers. While the numbers for how much money was potentially lost haven’t been released, there’s no doubt that significant losses were had in one of the most active ecommerce nations.
Between Mega Monday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Grey Thursday (known as “Thanksgiving” to most), it seems like new unofficial “sales holidays” are cropping up left and right, giving companies the chance to offer substantial, time-sensitive discounts to hungry shoppers. Although giving a title each day that surrounds Thanksgiving can be a little bothersome, one fact remains clear: Black Friday and its supporting days bring in huge sales volumes. So long as these days continue to bring in record-breaking revenue, expect companies to build marketing plans around them. Alongside enormous sales figures, a few things to watch for next year include:
- Thanksgiving is likely to become another staple in most companies’ holiday strategies, regardless of when it falls in November. Next year, Thanksgiving 2014 is only a day sooner than this year’s, so be on the lookout for big sales.
- Mobile engagement strategies are growing in importance and will continue to do so. Expect mobile ad-spend to increase next year and make sure your company is ready to engage users on every device effectively.
In short, 2013 has been a good year for ecommerce and 2014 is looking bright. To learn more about optimizing your store’s traffic and what you can do to effectively remarket to consumers, contact UpSellit.
Written by Joe Rosenthal