The Online Sales Blur Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday

Poonam Mathur Mobile, Social Media Leave a Comment

It’s the biggest time of the year for retailers. Black Friday is generally considered the official kick off to the holiday shopping season – even if we now see commercials and store displays as early as Halloween – and a successful Black Friday is used as a barometer for the fiscal health of a retailer and the holiday shopping season, as a whole. Have stellar Black Friday sales and you’re golden.

In recent years, e-Commerce has become a beast of it’s own. Cyber Monday is considered the online shopping juggernaut – folks are back at work, at their computers, and clicking purchase in record numbers – so it was the perfect counterpart to the brick-and-mortar focus on Black Friday.

Yet, 2013 set Black Friday online spending records with $1.2 Billion in sales, a 15% increase over 2012. And while folks may take cause with retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving, they’re happy to shop online. Online spending on Thanksgiving increased 21% to $766 Million in 2013.

So the long weekend is now an extended kickoff to the online holiday shopping season and Thanksgiving can’t be ignored. The charts below give insight into what time of day folks are shopping online.

IBM Benchmark Black Friday 2013 Online Sales by Hour
Cyber Monday 2013 Online Sales by Hour

  • Online sales peaked at 7:25 PM PST on Thanksgiving Day (2013)
  • 9:05AM PST delivered the highest sales numbers on Black Friday (2013)
  • Cyber Monday online sales started strong early in the day and continued a steady pace, peaking at 9:00PM PST (2013)

Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy

IBM provided key insights into the differences in shopping habits between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and one key stand out is the impact of mobile.

 Black Friday (2013)Cyber Monday (2013)
Online Sales$1.2 Billion$2.29 Billion
Average Order Value$135.27$128.77
Conversion Rate3.84%4.06%
Mobile (% of Sales)21.77%17.23%
Mobile (Conv. Rate)2.47%3.10%

Tablets, specifically the iPad, have become a must in a retailer’s direct response media buying strategy and the numbers back up that belief. Tablets were responsible for 14.4% of Black Friday sales and 11.7% of 2013 Cyber Monday sales.

Black Friday 2013 Mobile Device Type Sales
Cyber Monday 2013 Mobile Device Type Sales

And let’s not forget about the impact of a smartphone. While you may not be able to cleanly attribute an online ad to an in-store purchase, studies are beginning to show that online ads are directly influencing in-store traffic and purchase behavior. If you’re a retailer with a brick-and-mortar location, consider the intangible benefits you’re gaining with ads directed to smartphones.

The retail world has been in a state of disruption for some time now. Retailers slow to adjust are being lost in the shuffle to companies that have embraced innovation, mobile readiness, and testing into their corporate DNA. The always on, mobile first approach is critical to success and if your company lacks an omni-channel approach, it’s time to start.

Source: IBM 2013 Holiday Benchmark Reports