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Site Outages Didn’t Hurt Cyber Monday’s $3B Sales

It looks like the traditional crush of bargain-hungry Black Friday shoppers have shifted their spending habits to Cyber Monday.

Target’s e-commerce site struggled under the weight of consumers scrambling to take advantage of its online-only discounts and according to Catchpoint Systems, which monitors the performance of e-stores, the site was down sporadically from around 10 a.m. on Monday.

“As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue and prompt them to access the site later,” a Target spokesperson said in a statement, insisting to Wired that the site hadn’t crashed. “We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser.”

Foot Locker, Groupon and Victoria’s Secret as well as online payments processor PayPal reportedly suffered the wrath of click-happy consumers, too.

But despite site outages and slowdowns, Adobe Digital Index (ADI) said that online sales swelled by 12 percent to hit $2.98 billion on Cyber Monday—beating the $2.7 billion that shoppers spent online on Black Friday.

That figure was slightly smaller than IBM Watson’s forecast, which predicted that Monday’s sales would grow by more than 18 percent over last year, but still a clear indicator that consumers increasingly prefer the convenience of shopping online versus going into stores.

ADI said discounts, which averaged 20 percent on the day, were the main driver of traffic and the average online spend was $133 per person.

“The purpose of door busters is to get people to buy other merchandise as well while they are in shopping mode,” Tyler White, an analyst at ADI, said, noting that consumers seemed to only buy discounted items. “People are clearly in the mood to shop online and marketers need to concentrate on getting them to come back even with less compelling discounts.”

Not surprisingly, ADI found that mobile played a smaller role in Cyber Monday trade (responsible for 28 percent of online sales, compared to 33 percent on Black Friday and 37 percent on Thanksgiving), as many people returned to work after the holiday weekend.