(Bloomberg)—The holiday shopping season is off to a strong start and retailers hope to continue the momentum on Cyber Monday, the biggest online spending day of the year.
Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3) are vying for holiday spending with competing deals on flat-screen televisions, toys and gadgets. Traditional retailers Macy’s Inc. (No. 6), Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 19) and JC Penney Co. (No. 33) have all shuttered stores, creating an opportunity for retailers to fill the void online, said Tom Forte, analyst at DA Davidson & Co.
“There’s a lot of market share out there to be had,” he said.
The large amount of spending from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday likely benefited all retailers, but margins will be low due to steep discounts on must-have items for the holiday season, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
“The challenge for retailers is winning mind-share beyond Thursday to Monday,” she said. “That’s where Amazon sucks up all the oxygen because shoppers know Amazon will have what they want in stock and can deliver it quickly.”
E-commerce spending will jump almost 17% from a year ago to $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, according to estimates from Adobe Systems Inc. Shoppers continue to ditch the hassle of crowded stores and malls for the convenience of shopping online. Online spending during the November-December holiday season in the U.S. is projected to reach about $107 billion this year, more than 11% of total holiday retail sales—the largest portion ever, according to EMarketer Inc.
Amazon is projected to capture half of the e-commerce holiday spending growth, according to Bain & Co. GBH Insights estimated Friday afternoon that Amazon had captured as much as 50% of all online Black Friday sales.
Cyber Monday became a phenomenon when e-commerce was in its infancy and most people had slow, dial-up internet connections at home. Online merchants noticed a spike in demand when shoppers returned to work where they had high-speed connections and shopping was less laborious.
Most people now have fast connections at home and on their mobile phones, yet Cyber Monday remains en vogue with shoppers conditioned to look for deals. It’s also a day shoppers look beyond big-ticket electronics like flat-screen TVs that dominate Black Friday sales and widen their focus to apparel, toys and beauty products likely given as gifts, said Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews.
“Even though Black Friday is an online event, there are some people who are still turned off by the chaos of shopping over the holiday weekend,” she said. “Cyber Monday appeals to a different kind of shopper who doesn’t want to feel rushed.”