Cyber Monday sales up 20.6% while physical stores lag

While physical stores saw the first spending decline since 2009, online sales reached a record high

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
December 3, 2013
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Looks like you guys were all pretending to work while you shopped online yesterday. Cyber Monday sales were up 20.6%, with sales peaking at 9 p.m. PST, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Interestingly, while sales grew overall, the average order size was down 1% to $128.77.

IBM, which analyzes data from over 800 online retailers, doesn’t give firm dollar amounts, but it does offer some other interesting factoids, like the fact that mobile accounted for more than 17% of all sales.

That’s a pretty significant number when you consider the fact that on average, mobile commerce typically accounts for only one out of every 10 e-commerce dollars spent. And e-commerce only accounts for about 10% of discretionary dollars spent in the U.S.

Mobile traffic (not sales) accounted for 31.7% of all online traffic—up 45% over 2012. This could fly in the face of the long-held theory that Cyber Monday is the result of people going back to work after Thanksgiving weekend and finding themselves face-to-face with a blank desktop computer.

As IBM’s hourly chart shows, sales rose after-hours and peaked at 9 p.m. Does this mean that heavy-duty marketing has pushed Cyber Monday beyond its own origins and turned it into something completely different—a holiday in itself?

Smartphones drove 19.7% of all online traffic while tablets drove 11.5% of online sales. But—as usual—tablets drove higher sales than smartphones, accounting for 11.7% of all online sales, compared to smartphones at just 5.5%. Additionally, tablet users spent an average of $126.30 per order, while smartphone shoppers spent an average of $106.49.

And once again, iOS users spent more than Android users per order: $120.29 to $106.70, respectively. And mobile traffic from iOS devices was more than twice that from Android devices—22.4% versus 9.1% of all online traffic.

ComScore previously forecasted that consumers would spend $2 billion online on Cyber Monday, up from $1.46 billion last year. That’s after brick-and-mortar retail stores suffered their first Black Friday spending decline since 2009. Total retail spending fell 2.9% to $57.4 billion over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. And while more people were out shopping, average per-person spending fell 3.9% to $407.02.

Many experts have been projecting banner sales this holiday season, owing to the fact that Thanksgiving came a little late this year, which has shortened the shopping season to less than a month.

Of course, online shopping has only ramped up, and comScore expects consumers to shop much later into December this year. Normally, online sales taper off by mid-December as shoppers turn to brick-and-mortar stores for their last-minute gifts. But comScore expects 25% of online holiday shopping to take place on December 15 or later.   


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