Cyber Monday was a huge hit this year for retailers and online shoppers, who reaped the benefits of big discounts and extended holiday sale offers, driving web sales to record numbers on the last day of the huge Thanksgiving deal weekend. Shoppers used mobile devices more than ever during the big sales, shattering previous records for mobile sales numbers.
Cyber Monday Sales Surge
If the mood of U.S. consumers this past Monday is any predictor of how holiday sales will shape up for the entire holiday shopping period, things are looking good for retailers, specifically those who sell their wares online. Cyber Monday sales skyrocketed, with an impressive 12.1 percent increase in online sales over those of Cyber Monday 2015. The increase surpassed Adobe Digital Insights' already healthy sales prediction for the day by 2.6 percent.
"Cyber Monday was one for the history books this year," said Tamara Gaffney, Adobe's principal analyst. "It's an incredible milestone, but it's also incredible that Black Friday inched so close to Cyber Monday this year, generating only $110 million less in online sales."
Mobile Shopping Skyrockets
The increase in the use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets far surpassed the overall sales increase. Mobile online shopping activity increased by a whopping 34 percent on Cyber Monday, with a total of $1.07 billion in sales. That's $130 million less than the mobile sales tally for Black Friday.
Although no numbers on how many individuals actually shopped on Cyber Monday have been released, a survey prior to the big day commissioned by the National Retail Federation and conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics had indicated that 122 million Americans planned to shop online on the day, an increase of just 1 million from 2015. If those numbers panned out, it means that the amount spent by each individual online shopper on Cyber Monday 2016 showed a sharp increase.
Early Start Helps Sales Numbers
Many retailers started their Cyber Monday sales early, with Walmart beginning its deals on Sunday night and Target repeating last year's site wide 15 percent off sale, but starting it a full day early this time around, encompassing both Sunday and Monday for the discounts. Amazon, meanwhile reported it was on track to score its best Cyber Monday yet, after having reported a 40 percent increase in sales in 2015. The online retailer sold 2 million toys in just the first half of Cyber Monday 2016, while deals from its competitors also came fast and furious.
"The competition is who can be first with the deal to snag the sale before someone else does,'' said Efraim Levy, senior equity analyst at CFRA. "Black Friday, and by extension, the Cyber Monday motif, is a way of branding to say, 'We have special discounts today. Buy it now.'''
The online sales surge had a dark side for brick and mortar retailers, which reported a 1 percent drop in visits on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, while preliminary research data indicated that Black Friday sales in retail locations dropped by 10.4 percent from last year's tally.