Just days ahead of Cyber Monday—the biggest online shopping day of the year—Amazon shares hit a record high Wednesday morning of $385.47. In the year to date, Amazon shares have risen 52% from $250, but they’ve taken a steep incline in the last three months.
The sharp rise in Amazon’s stock comes on the eve of the busiest shopping season of the year—which happens to be six days shorter than last year, so get your latex gloves because this is going to get messy. Retailers are expecting record breaking e-commerce sales. ComScore is projecting $2 billion in sales on Cyber Monday alone, which would be a pretty significant leap over the $1.46 billion in sales last year.
“Because of the compressed shopping calendar this year, we predict the benchmark promotional shopping days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday to perform particularly well given pent-up consumer demand and less time to get all of one’s holiday shopping completed in time,” comScore notes in a report.
Additionally, comScore expects retailers to push promotions more heavily to emphasize those particular shopping days.
Naturally, mobile commerce is expected to be huge this year. ComScore predicts that sales on mobile devices will account for $200 million, while desktop commerce will account for $1.8 billion. That may seem like a small fraction, but mobile commerce is expected to reach its highest ever percentage of total e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter at 12-13%, accounting for $10 billion in sales altogether. And the shorter shopping season will likely result in a greater reliance on mobile devices.
But big box retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and more are seeing some sizable pushback from angry customers who don’t appreciate the companies’ corporate takeover of Thanksgiving. Notably, Kmart stores will be open for a full 41 hours as they open their doors at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving day. But a Huffington Post poll finds that 62% of Americans think retailers should close on Thanksgiving and give their workers the holiday off.
Could that backlash lead to windfall holiday profits for Amazon and other e-commerce companies? It’s not that far-fetched (although there has been talk of a boycott of Walmart stores, let’s face it: Walmart shoppers are going to shop at Walmart).
Analysts expect Amazon to have a banner fourth quarter. Wall Street is projecting an EPS of $0.66 on revenue of $36.03 billion.
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