Science & Technology



Cyber Monday, fueled by smartphones, sets an online sales record of $6.6 billion

Suzette Parmley, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Science & Technology News

Cyber Monday delivered as expected. Based on final online sales numbers released at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Cyber Monday became the biggest U.S. online shopping day in history, according to Adobe Analytics Data. The use of mobile devices, especially smartphones, accounted for nearly 40 percent of retail visits and 21.3 percent of revenue.

Propelled by smartphones, mobile devices generated an all-time high of $2 billion for the first time on Cyber Monday. Adobe reported that a total $6.59 billion had been spent online, a 16.8 percent growth year over year, by the end of the day -- nearly $1 billion more than last year's Cyber Monday haul of $5.6 billion.

Tuesday's numbers confirmed what had been forecast based on preliminary figures. By 10 a.m. Monday, overall web traffic was up 12 percent, with the season average at 5.7 percent. Mobile devices, setting a new record, accounted for 53.3 percent of visits (44.6 percent smartphones; 8.7 percent tablets) and 39.7 percent of revenue (29.8 percent smartphones; 9.9 percent tablets).

Smartphone traffic had grown 21 percent year over year on Monday morning, while revenue from smartphones rose 41 percent rise, a record.

It didn't hurt that juggernaut Amazon began Cyber Monday sales hours earlier, at 5 p.m. Sunday on devices, electronics, toys and home furnishings, among other items.

Online pitches ranged from off-price retailer Nordstrom Rack ($20 off plus free shipping), to shoe seller Aldo (get 50 percent off plus 20 percent off regularly priced items), to skin-care specialist Kneipp USA (free shipping plus 40 percent off), to apparel retailer Francesca's (30 percent to 65 percent off the entire site) as Cyber Monday specials were sent all day to customers already in their databases.


"Cyber Monday is expected to make history again as the biggest U.S. online shopping day of all time, driving a billion dollars more than last year," Tamara Gaffney, strategic insights engagement group director at Adobe, said in a statement Monday. "A lot more of this will be happening on smartphones, as well, where smoother buying experiences through auto-fill capabilities are helping drive the growth we see in mobile."

Adobe's retail report is considered by the industry as the most comprehensive set of insights, measuring 80 percent of online transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers. About $7.50 of every $10 spent by consumers online with the top 500 U.S. retailers goes through Adobe Experience Cloud, according to the firm.

Monday's online numbers were "putting tremendous pressure on traditional retailers' bottom lines," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, which tracks 108 publicly traded retailers with negative earnings growth in three of the last four quarters.

"Fourth-quarter retail earnings are expected to be up just 3.7 percent year over year despite facing a very easy -1.6 percent year-ago comparison," he said. "The mass migration to digital is adding to retailers' expenses as each sale costs more to fulfill."


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