3 Major Holiday Shopping Trends Were: Huge Online Retail Sales, Cyber-Monday Preference & Mobile Device Use

My major trend-winners for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Holiday Shopping are: 1) Black Friday online retail sales topped $1 Billion for the first time in history. 2) Cyber Monday is becoming the preferred shopping day. 3) The number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site has increased dramatically. Here's What Happened:    

1. Black Friday online retail sales topped $1 Billion for the first time in history. Following Black Friday this year (2012), Reuters announced: "Black Friday retail sales online this year topped $1 billion for the first time ever as more consumers used the Internet do their early holiday shopping." The article continued with many points we've been making at Upstream Commerce as we've continually identified coming trends: "Ecommerce is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping, and wide selection."

2. Cyber Monday is becoming the preferred shopping day. On November 26 (2012), "Cyber Monday" celebrated its seventh season. Consumer motivation for shopping on Cyber Monday continued to grow in popularity, according to a survey from PriceGrabber.com: "Industry forecasts predicted growth in online holiday sales this season, and PriceGrabber's survey data was in line with this trend, revealing strong consumer interest in online shopping on Cyber Monday to take advantage of retailer incentives," said vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.com, Rojeh Avanesian.

Asked to select which days they plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, 41% of surveyed-consumers cited Cyber Monday, up from 37% in 2011 and 33% in 2010. Moreover, asked whether they planned to shop more on Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday (Nov. 23) this year, 58% of those Cyber-Monday shoppers said they planned to shop more on Cyber Monday.

According to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation, more than 129 million Americans planned to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from almost 123 million on the same day last year,

According to PriceGrabber's third winter holiday shopping survey done Oct. 1-24, 2012, polling 4,958 US online shopping consumers, most Cyber-Monday shoppers said they'd shop on Cyber Monday:

* To take advantage of one-day deals, discounts, and free-shipping offers (84%).

* To buy on Cyber Monday after looking for sales during Black Friday weekend (31%).

* To get holiday shopping done early (29%).

* Because they'd spend Black Friday weekend speaking with friends and family about their gift lists (12%).

* Because Cyber Monday (shopping) is a tradition with family and friends (7%).

3. The number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site has increased dramatically, with one research service reporting "a near 50 percent increase in consumers using their mobile phones to make purchases, with mobile payments increasing to 29 percent of all online purchases."

Pre-Holiday Shopping Outlook

Before the holidays, pundits and predictors said it wasn't clear yet whether strong Black Friday sales online would weaken growth on Cyber Monday, which has been the biggest e-commerce day in the United States in recent years. 

However, ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said Cyber Monday online sales might reach $1.5 billion this year -- up 20 percent from the corresponding day last year.

ComScore also predicted online retail spending to rise 17 percent to $43.4 billion through the whole holiday season -- above the 15 percent increase last season and ahead of the retail industry's expectation for a 4.1 percent increase in overall spending this holiday, according to the Reuters article.

The Results:

"Cyber Monday is finally over, and mobile commerce appears to have come out a big winner," Rachel King reported on Between the Lines (Cyber Monday 2012 By The Numbers, Tuesday, November 27, 2012), adding that IBM reported a 30 percent jump in online sales on Cyber Monday 2012 over the same time period on Cyber Monday 2011.

Mobile payment service, Braintree, saw a near 50 percent increase in consumers using their mobile phones to make purchases, with mobile payments increasing to 29 percent of all online purchases.

The big story was the dramatic increase in use of smartphones and tablets compared to last year. PriceGrabber reported traffic from smartphone sources increased by 3,230.8 percent, while tablet sources grew by 775.3 percent.

Takeaways:

"Now that Cyber Monday is over and the holiday shopping season is well underway, retailers would be wise to pay attention to the biggest e-commerce trends that played out over the weekend," wrote King. Her big takeaway was "mobile commerce was on fire this Thanksgiving weekend."

As we've been saying at Upstream Commerce, Commerce as we knew it is changing quickly and forever.  These dramatic changes in mobile commerce will continue to multiply -- retailers should earnestly submerge themselves in mobile, and use the right competitive pricing intelligence tools and information to live, thrive, succeed and survive in today's and tomorrow's Ecommerce milieus.    

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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