IBM predicts the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season will be Cyber Monday, with a projected web sales growth rate of 15.8% over that same day in 2013, while Adobe predicts the biggest growth in web sales will come on Black Friday, with a 28% increase over 2013.

While two e-commerce vendors differ on the days they think will post the biggest year over year holiday online shopping growth, they both predict consumers will spend significantly more online than last year.

Consumers will spend 15% more on the web during the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, IBM predicts.  Cyber Monday will post the biggest year over year online sales growth, with a predicted growth rate of 15.8%, IBM says. Following closely behind will be Thanksgiving itself, with projected web sales growth of 15.6%. Black Friday, on the other hand, will have a slightly lower growth rate at 13%.

Mobile is becoming an increasingly large portion of holiday shopping activities. IBM predicts 48.2% of all online traffic during the five-day period will come from mobile devices, an increase of 23% from last year. IBM also predicts 24.4% of all web sales will come from mobile devices during the five days, an increase of 9.5% from last year. IBM also predicts 53% of web traffic will come from mobile devices on Thanksgiving, while 28% of sales that day will come from mobile devices.

Despite the overall increase of web sales, IBM predicts consumers will spend 2.9% less per order than in 2013, for an average of $123.28 per order. However, it forecasts consumers will purchase an average of 4.4 items per order, an increase of 17% from last year.

IBM predicts the volume of e-mail marketing messages will peak on Cyber Monday and that click-through-rates for e-mails will increase 10 percentage points over Cyber Monday last year. 35% of those clicks will happen on mobile devices, it says. IBM also says consumers will favor smartphones for mobile browsing, with 29% of all online traffic to retailers coming from smartphones and 15% coming from tablets on the Monday after Thanksgiving.


A competing prediction was released today by Adobe, which says web sales on Black Friday will be the fastest-growing compared to last year with a growth rate of 28% and a total spend of $2.48 billion. (IBM did not release specific sales figure predictions.) Adobe also predicts 27% web sales growth on Thanksgiving and 15% web sales growth on Cyber Monday. The web sales totals for those two days are predicted at $1.35 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively.

Adobe also predicts mobile will constitute a larger share of consumers’ holiday web shopping, with Thanksgiving projected to be the most-mobile shopping day of the year with 31% of all online sales coming from smartphones and tablets—up 21% from last year. Mobile sales will constitute 26% of web sales on Black Friday and 20% on Cyber Monday, Adobe says.

Adobe predicts the biggest discounts of the season will come on Thanksgiving, with an average discount of 24%. The largest single-day drop in price (5% drop in price) will happen between the Sunday and Monday before Thanksgiving.

Adobe’s predictions are based on analysis of data from more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail web sites over the last six years and 20 billion visits in October 2014. IBM bases its predictions on billions of online and in-store transactions analyzed by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and IBM Quarterly Retail Forecast.


Over the entire holiday shipping period (defined as the months of November and December), Adobe predicts web sales growth of 10% from 2013. Earlier this week, Forrester Research Inc. predicted a web sales growth of 13% in November and December. Forrester’s holiday sales growth estimate is similar to that of Deloitte LLP, which projected online holiday retail sales and mail order purchases in the U.S. would increase between 13.5% and 14.0% this year compared with 2013.