[updated at 2:57 pm on 12.5.17]
The first rush of the holiday season is now behind us. With record breaking sales, the year is looking up for most retailers, with a 15% increase in spending YoY.1 Here’s a round-up of trends from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The Holiday Season is Looking Bright
Total Black Friday sales have risen the most since 2011, according to GlobalData’s preliminary tracking figured. While the National Retail Federation is calling for an increase of as much as 4 percent from last year. Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day brought in $5.03 billion and $2.87 respectively, for a grand total of $7.9 billion2. Over the 5 day period, Thanksgiving - Cyber Monday, American consumers spent $19.62 billion, 15% more than the same timeframe last year.3
Moreover, Cyber Monday seems to be the blockbuster day this year, with more than 81 million online vistiors, spending a record $6.59 billion online, a 16.8% increase YoY.4
Grey November is the New Normal
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are Thanksgiving weekend staples, retailers are embracing “Grey November.” A name born from the emerging trend of starting promotions earlier and extending them past Cyber Monday, engulfing the month in flash sales, promotions, and heavy discounts. Of course, many retailers save their heavy hitters for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the fear of missing out, which is not unfounded, on early shoppers is creating a longer buying season.
Over the years, there has been a consistent trend in the market with a large portion of consumers stating they plan to start their holiday shopping before Halloween.5 Many, if not most, retailers and brands are accounting for this and start offering deals in late October, early November.
Online vs. Instore
Even for big department stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JC Penny who generally ready themselves for large lines and lots of in-store traffic, the bulk of shopping actually took place online this year. Kohl’s reported 16 million visits to Kohls.com far outpacing traffic and sales precedent.6 Many retailers used Thanksgiving weekend as an opportunity to offer the same sales online that, traditionally, were only reserved for in-store shoppers, breaking down a barrier for shoppers who may have otherwise stayed away.7 According to NRF's recently released data, 64 million shopped online and instore, 58 million shopped online only, and 51 million shopped instore only.8
Not surprisingly, Amazon reported this Cyber Monday as its biggest sales day ever, exceeding the previous record holder, this year's Prime Day.9
Moving to Mobile
With this push towards online, it’s no surprise that mobile purchases are on the rise. According to Adobe, as of 10 am on Monday, Americans had spent nearly $14 billion online since Thanksgiving Day, and over half the orders came from mobile devices.10 Smartphone users accounted for:
- 46% of visits to eCommerce websites and 29% of sales on Thanksgiving Day
- 54.5% of all visits and 36.9% of all sales on Black Friday
- 47.4% of all visits and 33.1% of revenue on Cyber Monday11
Mobile conversion rates on smartphones increased 10% from last year to 3.5%.12 In the past, consumers generally used their mobile device to do research on products, using a computer or going into a store to complete their purchase. With the advent of better checkout processes, including mobile friendly sites, and the ability to pay with the push of a button, thanks to things like apple wallet and PayPal, many of the barriers to shopping with a mobile device have been removed.