Cyber Monday, billed by the retail industry as the busiest online shopping day of the year, is gaining more importance as the traditional Thanksgiving-Black Friday in-store sales disappointed and missed expectations this year.
More consumers are turning to retailer websites and bargain-hunting apps, and diminishing the need for traveling to a brick-and-mortar location.
U.S. shoppers spent $9.1 billion at stores on this past Black Friday, according to data out Saturday from research firm ShopperTrak. That’s a drop of 7 percent compared with the same day last year. Cyber Monday, which is today, follows the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But its significance extends beyond this 24-hour period.
IBM said online sales for Black Friday climbed 9.5 percent over the same day last year. More than one of every four transactions were made using a smartphone or tablet computer.
However, both online and in-store sales from Thanksgiving through the weekend were estimated to have dropped 11 percent, to $50.9 billion, from $57.4 billion last year, according to preliminary survey data from the National Retail Federation. Overall, 133.7 million people shopped or planned to shop at stores or online over the four-day weekend, 5.2 percent fewer than last year, the federation said.
Retailers are still confident that cyber deals will help push overall holiday sales above last year’s figures.
The federation has predicted that sales for the last two months of the year will hit $616.9 billion, an increase of 4.1 percent over the same period of 2013.
If achieved, that would mark the biggest increase for that sales period since 2011. But it would still be slower than the 6 percent pace typical before 2007-2008, the time period during which the financial crisis and Great Recession took hold.