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Record-Setting Cyber Monday Boosts Ominchannel Retail

The numbers are in, and an early read on Cyber Monday shows record-setting results.

After a surge in Black Friday sales, Adobe Analytics data says a record $10.8 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, a 15.1 percent year-over-year increase, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, topping last year’s then-best $9.4 billion.

Cyber Monday put the total season-to-date spending over the $100 billion threshold, with a 27.7 percent year-over-year growth to $106.5 billion, surpassing this milestone nine days faster than last year. Adobe analyzes 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 80 of the 100 largest retailers in the U.S. to derive at its figures.

Early data on today’s Giving Tuesday suggests that consumers continue to shop online in strong numbers. Adobe Analytics said it expects online spend for the day to reach $4.1 billion, representing a 26.3 percent growth over 2019.

Consumers wanting to take advantage of time-sensitive deals drove massive growth in the final hours of Cyber Monday, Adobe said. During the “golden hours of retail” (7-11 p.m. Pacific Time), consumers parted with $2.7 billion. These last four hours account for 25 percent of the day’s revenue, with the peak hour between 8-9 p.m. Pacific Time reaching a purchasing rate of $12 million per minute.

Based on online shopping behaviors over the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday), Adobe is now predicting U.S. online holiday sales will total $184 billion, a 30 percent year-over-year increase, down slightly from the original forecast of $189 billion, or a 33 percent gain.

Additional findings around Cyber Monday show that consumers benefited from some of the strongest discounts on computers (28 percent), sporting goods (20 percent), toys (19 percent), appliances (20 percent) and electronics (27 percent). Discounts are expected to weaken by approximately 5 percent to 10 percent, across most categories, in the weeks running up to Christmas, Adobe said.

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Curbside pickup options continued to see strong growth among shoppers who prefer to avoid crowds during the global pandemic and shipping delays. On Cyber Monday, curbside pickup saw a 30 percent growth compared to the year-ago period. For last minute online purchasing, the most preferred shipping option was one-day shipping, followed by curbside pickup.

Large retailers with more than $1 billion in yearly revenue and smaller one with $10 million to $50 million in annual sales both continued to see gains on Cyber Monday.

Mobile continued to be the preferred shopping method for consumers on Cyber Monday, accounting for 37 percent of sales.

“Cyber Monday continued to dominate the holiday shopping season, becoming the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, despite early discounts from retailers,” Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights, said. “Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, we expect to see record sales continue and curbside pickup to gain even more momentum as shoppers avoid crowds and potential shipping delays.”

From a global perspective, a report from Salesforce, analyzing the shopping behavior of more than 1 billion global shoppers on the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, said global online sales hit a new record with $270 billion, up 36 percent compared to 2019.

With new online shopping behaviors driven in part by the Covid-19 pandemic and reduced store holiday hours and traffic, consumers flocked online over Cyber Week and pushed digital sales to new heights, Salesforce said.

Overall digital commerce was up 36 percent globally and 29 percent in the U.S. year-over-year with a 22 percent increase in consumers who participated in Cyber Week this holiday season compared to 2019 as the pandemic pushed more consumers online, according to the Salesforce report.

U.S. retailers that offered curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options increased digital revenue by 29 percent on average compared to last Cyber Week. Retailers that didn’t offer these pickup options only saw 22 percent average growth, according to Salesforce.

“With earlier shipping cutoff dates and 700 million packages expected to face shipping delays, retailers that combine the confidence of ordering online with the convenience of local and safe pickup options will continue to see strong digital revenue growth throughout the remainder of the season,” Salesforce said. “Salesforce customers around the globe leveraged curbside pickup this year, resulting in 95 percent digital revenue growth compared to 2019.”

The report noted that despite their sprawling reach, social selling delivered limited growth. Social media platforms drove 9 percent of global traffic and 10 percent of U.S. traffic to commerce websites over Cyber Week. These platforms accounted for 3 percent of global digital orders and 4 percent of U.S. digital orders that were placed over these seven days.

Driven by new incentives from retailers encouraging safety and early holiday shopping from home, the average discount rate started at 28 percent on Nov. 26 in the U.S. and grew modestly throughout the week, ending with an average discount rate of 29 percent on Cyber Monday. Globally, the average discount rate started at 27 percent on Nov. 26 and grew to 28 percent on Cyber Monday.

The role of artificial intelligence continued to gain ground, as personalized product recommendation views grew 69 percent over Cyber Week. Global marketing communications surged over Cyber Week, with push notifications growing 131 percent, SMS jumping 171 percent and email growing 9 percent year-over-year to 26.6 billion total emails sent.