Thanksgiving and Black Friday online shopping this year had big gains on 2019, but both still fell somewhat short of expectations in what is proving to be a good if more muted holiday shopping season, without the usual physical crowds to help enforce Covid-19 social distancing and many feeling the economic strain of the health pandemic.
Now all eyes are on “Cyber Monday,” which has for the last several years has been the biggest online shopping day of the four-day stretch. Adobe predicts that it will be the biggest shopping day yet in the US, with between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion spent, while Salesforce's forecast is in the middle of that range, $11.8 billion. Globally, Salesforce believes the figure will be $46 billion.
Adobe figure of 40% of sales on smartphones has been relative steady all week. Shopify, which typically works with smaller merchants, has put the figure closer to 70%.
For some context, Black Friday came in at $9 billion and Thanksgiving at $5.1 billion this year according to Adobe's figures. And last year $9.4 billion was spent on Cyber Monday 2019.
Salesforce was more optimistic: it said that digital revenues on Black Friday were $12.8 billion with global figures coming in at $62 billion, while Thanksgiving was closer to $6.8 billion in online sales in the US, with the global figure around $30.4 billion.
“Cyber Monday is on track to break all previous records for online sales. Consumers will likely take advantage of the best discounted items today like TVs, toys and computers before price levels start creeping back up throughout the rest of the season,” said Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights. “Shoppers are encouraged to do their gift buying soon as shipping in time for Christmas will get more expensive in the coming weeks.”
We will continue to update these figures as we get more data in. Adobe, for example, said that it believes that a whopping 29% of today's revenue will come only between 7pm and 11pm Pacific (after work is over for the day).
(Part of the disparity in the two companies' figures is based on methodology. Adobe bases its figures on 80 of the top 100 retailers in the US, covering some 1 trillion transactions. Salesforce is using data gleaned from its Commerce Cloud, covering billions of engagements and millions of social media conversations, which it then combines with further analytics in its Shopping Index.)
One thing that is clear from both companies is that Cyber Monday continues to be the biggest day of them all. Why? It's a perfect storm: the big rush of sales for the holiday season are up, but everyone is back at work, so they shop online instead of in person. Hence, big numbers on Cyber Monday.
As with the other days of the long weekend, one thing that has been impacting sales numbers is the fact that sales are starting earlier and earlier, but Adobe said that many consumers still believe that big bargains are laid on for the specific day. Some of the most popular shopping categories have included computers (marked down 30% on average), toys (20% discount), appliances (21%) and electronics (26%).
Bigger businesses continue to reap the biggest spoils in online shopping — not least because they still provide the best range of delivery, pick-up and return options to consumers, which become an even bigger set of priorities as you move further away from more amenable early adopters and into the more general population and potentially less experienced online shoppers. The conversion rates for big retailers (over $1 billion in revenues annually) are typically 70% higher than for smaller businesses.
Still, small businesses have tried to spend years catching up, boosted by various startups and companies like Shopify building tools for them to “be like Amazon” in their fulfillment, delivery and other features. Adobe said that Small Business Saturday, the newest of the Thanksgiving shopping holidays, saw $4.7 billion spent, a record for the day and up 30.2% on 2019. And to underscore just how tough times are for small businesses, Adobe said that the money small businesses were bringing in online this year was a whopping 294% higher than an average day in October.
So far some $23.5 billion has been spent during the holiday weekend.