Cyber Monday is on pace to barely edge out Black Friday as the biggest online shopping day of the five-day stretch from Thanksgiving through today.
Data from Adobe Inc.’s Adobe Digital Insights predicts U.S. shoppers will spend $3.36 billion online Monday. If that holds, Cyber Monday will beat the $3.34 billion shoppers spent online on Black Friday by 0.6% to retain the crown as the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season.
Industry experts say Black Friday is poised to take over Cyber Monday as the most lucrative online sales day of Thanksgiving weekend because retailers are spreading out their promotions.
“We started seeing Black Friday sales last Monday,” says Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights at MasterCard. “The holiday keeps going and going. People don’t feel the urgency to go on that one specific day.” Quinlan says MasterCard’s data shows online sales grew double digits year over year each day from Thanksgiving through Sunday, though she declined to specify an exact figure.
IBM data points to a similar trend, with online sales up about 10% year over year in the weeks leading up to the holiday weekend. Thanksgiving Day online sales for U.S. retailers increased 11.7% compared with the same day in 2015, and Black Friday online sales were up 9.3%, IBM says. From Thanksgiving through Sunday, U.S. e-retailers increased web sales 9.3% compared with that four-day period in 2015, IBM says.
For Cyber Monday, IBM projects e-commerce will increase by double digits over last year and that total online sales for November and December will increase 13.9% year over year.
Adobe’s data shows higher growth overall. It says online sales grew 16.4% year over year from Thanksgiving through Sunday to $9.36 billion.
Strong growth, especially later in the day on Black Friday, prompted Adobe on Monday to alter its online sales projections for the 2016 holiday season. Earlier this month, Adobe had lowered its online sales growth forecast to a single-digit percentage increase from 11%. Today, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Insights Tamara Gaffney told Internet Retailer via email the company was going back to its 11% year-over-year growth projection for the 2016 holiday season based on the strength of weekend sales.
One retailer seeing sharper year-over-year online sales growth than most is Jet.com.
“We’re a little different than your average retailer since we had only been in business 15-16 weeks by the time the holidays happened last year,” says Jet.com chief customer officer Liza Landsman. “When we look at our like-for-like, we’re up about 4x versus last year when I look at Black Friday to Black Friday. That’s a little different than the overall trend in retail.”
Sales aren’t the only thing that has grown for Jet.com since last holiday season. The number of items for sale on its website has increased by more than six-fold, going from 3 million last year to more than 20 million this year as its online marketplace has continued to grow, Landsman says, adding that 6.1% of orders are coming through Jet’s mobile apps.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s acquisition of Jet.com for $3.3 billion—a deal that closed in September—did not affect Jet’s 2016 holiday plans. “Both organizations’ plans for holidays were established long before the acquisition was a twinkle in anybody’s eye,” Landsman says. “In terms of access to certain product lines from the CPG (consumer packaged goods) side that maybe we didn’t have access to before, that started happening immediately on the close but those are not necessarily on the top of your holiday gift lists.”
The marketplace ran a holiday advertising campaign ahead of the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday holiday shopping week, something the company didn’t do last year because it was still in its infancy. Landsman says Jet also focused more attention on the assortment of products offered so that its inventory levels were more in line with what holiday shoppers are going to be looking for.
J.P. Knab, senior vice president of marketing at Overstock.com Inc. (No. 29), says nearly two thirds—63%—of all visitors to Overstock.com over the weekend came on mobile devices. Knab didn’t have a figure on what percentage of Overstock’s sales were completed on mobile devices.