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Aggressive Discounts Draw Cyber Monday Shoppers

Cyber Monday has some added weight on its shoulders amid a Black Friday that saw online sales increase just 2.3 percent year over year. The shopping extravaganza is expected to give a late boost to a weekend that reportedly also saw in-store sales lag behind expectations.

While online Black Friday sales totaled a record $9.12 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data, the slow growth amid high inflation numbers puts on industrywide pressure to recoup from a relatively lackluster start.

On Cyber Monday, Adobe expects consumers to spend between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion, which would be a jump of 4.7 percent to 8.4 percent from last year’s $10.7 billion in online sales during Cyber Monday 2021.

The Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks online prices across 18 product categories, said that inflation is likely to have a lesser impact on Cyber Monday, as prices were down 0.7 percent year over year in October.

“There is a ton of momentum coming into Cyber Monday, after a surprising Sunday where consumers latched onto early deals and spent nearly $5 billion online, shattering previous records,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “With discounts set to reach new heights today, Adobe expects Cyber Monday will be a major bright spot this season.”

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As usual, a who’s who of retailers offered discounts on top fashion items. Amazon sold Clarks footwear for up to 59 percent off, while also pushing Tommy Hilfiger apparel and accessories at as much as a 47 percent discount and Crocs shoes with up to 43 percent markdowns.

Walmart did the same on Cyber Monday for its “Deals for Days” campaign, with discounts for select fashion items reaching up to 70 percent. Third-party brands like Fanatics are being sold on the retail giant’s website at markdowns as high as 50 percent, while partners such as Champion and Justice are seeing items sold at discounts of up to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, Target is discounting clothing and shoes across women, men, kids and babies at up to 50 percent, largely promoting its own private brands including Goodfellow, Wild Fable and denim label Universal Thread.

Macy’s slashed prices on women’s coats by 55 percent to 65 percent and some designer suits by as much as 70 percent off, while Kohl’s advertised up to 60 percent off on outerwear for the family and a 50 percent markdown on select Nike, Under Armour and Adidas products. Nordstrom touted deals of 60 percent on items like boots, sweaters and coats.

According to Adobe, shoppers would find record discounts Monday across computers (peaking at 27 percent off listed price), apparel (19 percent), toys (33 percent), electronics (25 percent), sporting goods (16 percent), televisions (15 percent) and furniture (11 percent).

Adobe says its analysis covers more than 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories. Adobe Analytics has access to data from 85 percent of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S.

But Adobe hasn’t been the only company looking to stay on top of all the deals and discounts over the weekend, with Salesforce also doing a tally of its own.

Apparel markdowns widen, but footwear saw fewer discounts

For Black Friday, Salesforce said sales increased 3 percent year over year worldwide, but jumped 12 percent when only accounting the U.S. On Saturday and Sunday, U.S. retailers generated 9 percent and 11 percent sales increases.

“Online traffic and sales continued to gain momentum throughout Cyber Week, buoyed by U.S. consumers, who snagged great deals on Saturday and Sunday,” said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce. “We anticipate retailers continuing their aggressive discounting approaches on Cyber Monday as they make the final push to move inventory and free up cash.”

Salesforce indicated that discount levels were, as expected, deeper than yesteryear for the apparel industry. General apparel saw 35 percent discounts on Black Friday, up from 32 percent last year and 31 percent in 2020.

But believe it or not, while footwear markdowns increased year over year, they are still below 2020 Black Friday numbers. Two years ago, all footwear saw an average 25 percent price cut, compared with 21 percent this year and 18 percent in 2021.

And luxury apparel is slightly down from 2020 and 2021 numbers, at a 24 percent markdown average versus 25 percent and 26 percent respectively. This is a further sign that luxury spending is continuing to stay afloat among high-end consumers.

As apparel retailers were over-inventoried going into the season and having less of a problem meeting consumer demand, they offered 8 percent fewer product SKUs on their online catalogs—likely to offload the excess SKUs they currently still have on hand. Footwear is running counter to this strategy, offering 12 percent more SKUs during the holiday.

One of e-commerce’s biggest players also gave a peek into how its own wave of retail and brand partners are performing. According to Shopify’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday Shopping Index, sales peaked at $3.35 million per minute at 12:01 p.m. Eastern time on Friday. The average cart price for the weekend was $100.70, with apparel and accessories being the top-ordered product categories.

Two of the top five trending products included the “Classic 3-Pack” of tees from men’s T-shirt seller True Classic, and Vera Bradley’s deluxe travel organizer made from recycled cotton.

For all the chatter about Thanksgiving Weekend, there hasn’t been a comprehensive data set released regarding overall holiday performance across both online and in store. Retail’s largest trade association, the National Retail Federation (NRF), is slated to disclose its sales results data for the full holiday weekend on Tuesday. The NRF projects total holiday retail sales during November and December will grow 6 percent to 8 percent over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.