U.S. shoppers will spend a record $21.60 billion online during the biggest U.S. shopping weekend of the year, Internet Retailer forecasts. During the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, online sales will jump 15.5% from an Internet Retailer-estimated $18.70 billion in 2017.
Total retail sales, excluding items not normally purchased online, such as fuel and automobiles, will jump 5.5% to $143.82 billion over the same period, Internet Retailer estimates. That means e-commerce will account for roughly 15% of retail sales.
Growth in the e-commerce industry, combined with U.S. consumers’ willingness to spend—particularly online—is why Internet Retailer estimates a 15.5% year-over-year growth. The online sales growth projection is in line with the overall U.S. e-commerce industry’s growth over the last seven quarters, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures.
Additionally, U.S. consumer confidence is at the highest level it has been in 18 years. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which is based on a survey that measures consumer sentiment on current economic conditions and prospects for the next six months, hit 137.0 in October. This is the highest level since October 2000.
And research shows more consumers are buying gifts online each year. For example, 76% of U.S. shoppers said they purchased at least 25% of their gifts online in the last holiday shopping season (November to December), according to a March 2018 Internet Retailer and Bizrate Insights survey. In the same survey conducted in March 2017, 73% said they purchased at least 25% of gifts online.
While growth during the overall period is in line with the rest of the e-commerce industry, online sales growth during Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend is likely going to be higher, closer to 20% year-over-year growth, Internet Retailer estimates. In the past, online shopping was largely saved for Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. But research shows more consumers are spreading out their online shopping through the whole weekend, as more online-only retailers like Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. promote deals.
For example, a Deloitte LLP survey of 1,200 shoppers conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 4 found that 89% of shoppers plan to hit stores and 91% plan to shop online over Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday. On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, 50% of respondents said they plan to shop online—a day that has historically been known for crowded stores.
Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, will account for 29% of U.S. sales during the five days spanning Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Internet Retailer estimates. While it’s still a sizable share—far more than any other retailer—it’s actually below Amazon’s average share during the rest of the year, which is roughly 38% in 2018, according to Internet Retailer’s analysis of Amazon’s quarterly earnings, gross merchandise value estimates and U.S. Commerce Department figures. Amazon’s share is lower this weekend compared with the rest of the year because its retail competitors are offering their deepest discounts of the year around Thanksgiving, enticing shoppers to browse and purchase at other sites rather than just searching and buying on Amazon.
An Internet Retailer analysis of traffic data from SimilarWeb shows that Amazon’s share of retail traffic dropped 12 percentage points during the five-day period beginning Thanksgiving Day in 2017 compared with a comparable five-day period earlier in November. Internet Retailer used a sample of the largest U.S. retail sites for this analysis. Furthermore, according to Rakuten Intelligence’s data, Amazon had a 31.9% share of online sales in November 2017, its lowest monthly e-commerce penetration in all of 2017. Rakuten Intelligence bases its estimates on email receipts from more than 5 million consumers.
Here’s what the largest online retailers are doing this weekend to attract consumers to their retail sites:
Amazon.com Inc. is offering free shipping, no minimum purchase, on all items throughout the holiday season. The e-commerce giant is offering Black Friday deals from Nov. 16-23 at Amazon.com/BlackFriday. Prime members receive early access to select Amazon device deals when shopping with Alexa by asking, “Alexa, what are my deals?” or visiting Amazon.com/VoiceShopping.
In addition, Amazon shoppers can receive $5 off some Black Friday deals when using the Amazon app’s camera search feature, which lets a shopper search for a product or scan a barcode to view it in the app, or by using Amazon’s augmented reality features, AR View, to see what a product looks like in her home before purchasing.
Target Inc., No. 17 in the Top 1000, is launching its Black Friday deals on Target.com on Thanksgiving morning before the stores open at 5 p.m. that day. When Black Friday shoppers spend $50 in store or online and use the wallet feature in the Target mobile app, they will receive a coupon for 20% off a future trip, redeemable between Nov. 27 and Dec. 8.
Target also is offering deals during its Cyber Week, which starts Nov. 25, and will includes sales and other department-wide discounts. On Cyber Monday, the retailer will offer 15% off “hundreds of thousands” of items on Target.com. Target is allowing its REDcard holders to shop for Black Friday deals early, beginning Nov. 21.
From Nov. 19-26, eBay Inc.—No. 4 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Online Marketplaces—will have a new set of deals during its “Cyber Week” on products from brands such as Apple Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 1000), Google, Nintendo and KitchenAid. The new deals will launch at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) every day, allowing shoppers to save up to 80% on products. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, however, the online marketplace will launch news deals every hour between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST.
Black Friday deals start on Walmart.com on Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, which is two hours earlier than ever before. On Black Friday, Walmart (No. 3) also will be giving away 4 million cups of complimentary coffee from Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (No. 115) and nearly 2 million free Christmas cookies from the Walmart Bakery to encourage in-store shopping. The retail giant also has added new features to its Walmart app, such as color-coded Black Friday store maps and Check Out With Me, which enables shoppers to check out in the aisle.
Beginning Nov. 15 and carrying through Cyber Week (Nov. 25-28), Macy’s (No. 6) has limited-time deals on brands in-store and online, as well as items that are available for free after a mail-in rebate. Most stores will offer extra special savings on Thanksgiving Day, 5 p.m-2 a.m.; Black Friday, Nov. 23 from 6 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Nov. 24 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. During Cyber Week, Macys.com will offer free shipping on purchases greater than $25 from Nov. 25-28.
Best Buy Co. Inc.
Best Buy, No. 8 in the Top 1000, is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase or membership required from Oct. 29-Dec. 25. Its Black Friday deals go live on Thanksgiving Day both online at BestBuy.com and in-store when stores open at 5 p.m. that day. Nearly all stores will remain open until 1 a.m. on Nov. 23 and re-open at 8 a.m. for a second round of sales. Black Friday deals will be ongoing through Nov. 24.
Gap Inc., No. 20, is offering 50% off everything on Gap.com, from now until 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22. It’s unclear whether the apparel retailer will offer deeper discounts on Black Friday.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
The sporting goods retailer, No. 54 in the Top 1000, plans to offer 25% off a shopper’s entire online and in-store purchase made on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Stephanie Crets contributed to this story.Favorite