Cyber Monday 2012 was biggest online spending day ever

Steven Loeb · November 27, 2012 · Short URL:

Sales up over 30% from last year's Cyber Monday, and 36% from this year's Black Friday

Both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw record breaking e-commerce sales this year. So the news that Cyber Monday had broken records also was not all that unexpected. All you had to do was follow the trend.

The real surprising news, though? Cyber Monday 2012 turned out to be the largest online shopping day in history, according to a report from IBM’s Smarter Commerce division, released Tuesday.

Cyber Monday not only saw sales increase by 30.3% from 2011, but also up 36% from this year's Black Friday, which had seen a total of $1 billion in e-commerce sales. 

Those sales were driven, at least in some part, by mobile. More than 18% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer's website, an increase of over 70% from 2011. Mobile sales accounted for nearly 13% of all online sales, an increase of more than 96% from 2011. 

When it came to which devices drove sales, the iPad accounted for 7.1% of online shopping Monday. The iPhone was responsible for 6.9%, and Android devices only drove 4.5% of sales. 58.1% of consumers used smartphones, and 41.9% percent used tablets, to find bargains online on Cyber Monday.

In the tablet arena, the clear winner was the iPad, with 90.5% of tablet traffic. 

Still, mobile sales were down over 20% from Black Friday, and more shopping was done from PCs, most likely because people were back at work.

Sales were particularly strong with department stores, who saw sales go up by 43.1%. Apparel sales went up 25.3%, health and beauty sales rose 25.1% and home goods saw an increase of 26.8% in sales this year.

“Cyber Monday was not only the pinnacle of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend but when the cash register closed it officially became the biggest online shopping day ever,” Jay Henderson, Strategy Director, IBM Smarter Commerce said in a statement.

“Retailers that adopted a smarter marketing approach to commerce were able to adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device of choice, and fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend.” 

Record e-commerce sales

E-commerce spending on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday also broke records.

Online shopping on Thanksgiving went up 17.8% compared to last year, and mobile was a large part of that as well.

Of the total Web traffic to retailers’ sites, nearly one-third, or 28.5%, came from mobile devices.  By comparison, mobile only accounted for 16.2% of traffic on Thanksgiving last year. Consumers who shopped from mobile devices accounted for 15.4% of all online purchases.

Mobile users checked out an average of seven Web pages, and mobile and e-commerce shoppers alike purchased an average of 3.67 items.

Both eBay and PayPal saw huge gains in the number of mobile payments on Thanksgiving. For eBay, there was a 133% increase in mobile transactions on Thanksgiving compared to 2011. That number was even higher for PayPal, which saw transactions for go up a whopping 173% in the U.S.

Overall sales were even better on Black Friday this year, with 57 million Americans visiting online retail stores on Friday for record e-commerce sales. 

ComScore reported that Black Friday saw more than $1 billion in online sales, marking an increase of 26%.  It also represents the heaviest day of online sales to date in 2012—and, of course, it’s the first time that Black Friday has topped $1 billion in online sales.  Last year, Black Friday raked in $816 million.

Amazon was the most visited retail site on Black Friday, followed by, Best Buy, Target, and Apple.  The top selling product category was digital content and subscriptions, which was up 29% on Black Friday.

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