Consumers are opting for online sales on this Cyber Monday, but many got a head-start on mobile devices, laptops and desktops on Thanksgiving Day and through Black Friday, bypassing the traditional brick-and-mortar stores and the frenzy of in-store shopping.
Indeed, the traditional Black Friday concept may be a thing of the past in coming years. Already, online shopping is chipping away at brick-and-mortar purchases. But the ease of online browsing and the decreasing cost of shipping may help propel total holiday sales to new heights.
Check out the numbers. ComScore reports e-commerce sales were up 9 percent on Thanksgiving Day to hit $1.1. billion and 10 percent on Black Friday to $1.7 billion. According to Shopper Trak, in-store spending fell on Black Friday — from $11.6 billion last year to $10.4 billion in 2015. In-store sales on Thanksgiving day dropped from more than $2 billion to $1.8 billion.
And on this Cyber Monday, online shopping was so vigorous, some e-commerce sites couldn’t handle the traffic. Consider mega-retailer Target, which is offering 15 percent off every online order on Monday, along with 30 percent off select clothing, shoes and toys. But Target’s website was intermittently unavailable on Monday. A message on the retailer’s site said site errors were caused by an unusually high number of visitors.
“Consumers are recognizing the Internet is the place to go for a deal any time, any day,” Gene Alvarez, managing vice president of research firm Gartner, told the Associated Press.
“We recognize the Thanksgiving weekend shopping experience is much different than it used to be as just as many people want that unique, exclusive online deal as they do that in-store promotion,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities.”
The NRF says that more than 151 million people shopped during the holiday weekend. This compares to the 136 million, who in a mid-November survey, said they planned to shop over the weekend. Average spending per person over the weekend totaled $299.60, with an average of $229.56 specifically going towards gifts, or 76.6 percent of total purchases.