Cyber 5—the five-day holiday shopping frenzy that stretches from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday—is in the books, and U.S. shoppers spent a record $28.49 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics data. That’s up 17.7% from $24.21 billion for the same holiday weekend in 2018.
Here’s a Cyber 5 recap from Digital Commerce 360 (formerly Internet Retailer) with snapshots on overall sales performance by day, where online consumers shopped, email marketing trends and fulfillment metrics.
Cyber Monday hit $9.42 billion online
Online sales during Cyber 5 grew at the fastest rate since 2015, when the increase in ecommerce revenue was roughly the same, according to Adobe.
Cyber Monday still came out on top, bringing in $9.42 billion in web sales, up 19.7% from $7.87 billion on Cyber Monday 2018. Black Friday hit $7.43 billion in ecommerce revenue, up 19.5% from $6.22 billion last year.
Online sales for the five-day Cyber 5 period (2019) hit $28.49 billion
- Thanksgiving $4.21 billion
- Black Friday $7.43 billion
- Small Business Saturday $3.60 billion
- Sunday $3.83 billion
- Cyber Monday $9.42 billion
Adobe’s numbers are based on data from more than 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites including transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers ranked in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Figures are rounded.
57.5% of shoppers participated in Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday remained the most popular days for online shopping this year. According to a December Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 899 consumers, more than half of respondents reported shopping on those two days. Nearly six in 10 consumers—57.5%—said they visited retail sites on Cyber Monday, which is the highest share for any day during Cyber 5.
Nearly six in 10 consumers shopped on Cyber Monday 2019
- Day before Thanksgiving 37%
- Thanksgiving 23%
- Black Friday 53%
- Small Business Saturday 23%
- Sunday 45%
- Cyber Monday 58%
Less than a quarter of consumers surveyed shopped online on Thanksgiving or Small Business Saturday, according to the survey, but more than a third looked for deals on the day before Thanksgiving. This Wednesday has gotten more popular with shoppers as retailers launch sneak-peek sales earlier each year.
More people shopped Amazon than Walmart.com
Amazon.com Inc. was the clear winner with shoppers during the week leading up to Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (Nov. 25-Dec. 2), with 70.8% of consumers visiting the retail giant. That is more than double the number of shoppers who visited Walmart.com, which claimed the No. 2 spot in the survey.
Where online consumers shopped Nov. 25-Dec. 2
- Amazon 71%
- Walmart 34%
- Target 23%
- Kohl’s 21%
- eBay 17%
- Best Buy 14%
- Macy’s 12%
- The Home Deport 10%
- Costco 8%
- Lowe’s 7%
According to data from ecommerce analytics firm Edison Trends, the revenue growth of some large retailers reflected the shopping behavior consumers reported. The firm found Amazon, No. 1 in the Top 1000, showed the biggest year-over-year increase in consumer spending online from Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday of the leading retailers it tracked. Edison Trends’ data, which is based on 500,000 email receipts from U.S. online purchases, suggests Amazon’s sales jumped 43.0% year over year for the period. That’s just ahead of Nordstrom Inc. (No. 18) with 41.0% growth and Walmart (No. 3) with a 40.0% spike.
While nearly a quarter of respondents reported shopping online with Target Corp. (No. 16), Edison Trends says it increased its holiday weekend sales 3.0% online, so much of the traffic the retail chain received may have been comparison shopping.
Discount emails attempted to drive traffic
Consumers have relied heavily on communications from their favorite retailers to keep track of promotions so far this season, analysts say. Trends for email sends this year varied by Cyber 5 day and product category.
According to data from email monitoring firm MailCharts, retailers sent a higher share of holiday messages this year before Black Friday than last year for retailers in the three merchandise categories it tracked—apparel, home goods and jewelry—and a smaller percentage of emails that arrived on Black Friday. There was a reverse trend for Cyber Monday messaging, with a lower share of emails sent before the retail holiday in all three categories this year and a higher share of messages delivered on Cyber Monday itself.
Email volume figures are based on emails received during the holiday month with “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” mentioned in the subject line. MailCharts monitors email campaigns for 184 apparel, 46 home goods and 23 jewelry merchants.
The firm also tracks the share of emails that offer shoppers a promotion—including messages that advertise a percent off, dollars off, buy one/get one (BOGO) and free shipping. Not surprisingly, the week of Thanksgiving had the highest share of emails with promotions of any of the six weeks studied for the season to date—for retailers in all three categories. Roughly seven in 10 emails that went out that week featured discounts and other offers, MailCharts says.
Generally speaking, home goods merchants offered more email promotions than apparel retailers, according to MailCharts data. But for five out of the six holiday weeks studied, apparel retailers increased the share of email sends that offered deals this year over the same period in 2018. Emails from jewelry merchants were more aggressively promotional this year starting the week before Thanksgiving, ramping up especially during the week of Thanksgiving and the week after the holiday, when promotional emails’ share of overall messages jumped 10 percentage points to 68.0%.
5.5 million packages shipped between Thanksgiving and Dec 4., 2019
According to fulfillment data from Convey, a last-mile technology vendor, the number of holiday packages shipped from Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, through Wednesday, Dec. 4, ballooned 27.3% year over year. During that period, retailers shipped 5.5 million packages, up from 4.3 million during the same holiday week in 2018.
The increase in shipment volume is in line with overall spending for Cyber 5, when online sales jump more than 19.0% year over year on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, says Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey’s chief growth officer.
Shipment volume around Cyber 5 jumps 27% year over year
|Day||Number of shipments 2018||Number of shipments 2019|
|Small Business Saturday||559,068||764,991|
|Sunday of Cyber 5||369,390||701,647|
|Tuesday after Cyber 5||925,516||1,083,796|
|Wednesday after Cyber 5||857,240||995,414|
“Carriers are performing better this holiday, so it looks like retailers are on track to meet shoppers’ high expectations for smooth delivery experiences this season, even as they deliver more orders than ever,” Newbold-Knipp says. “Shipment volume is surging while shipping delays have dropped, as have the number of customers reporting delivery problems.”
Convey’s data is based on tens of millions of packages shipped from more than 500,000 U.S. locations across the company’s client base. Analysis excludes Amazon shipments. The vendor has 130 retail clients in many merchandise categories, including retailers The Home Depot Inc. (No. 7), Neiman Marcus (No. 50), Eddie Bauer LLC (No. 161) and Jet.com Inc. (No. 24 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Online Marketplaces database).
Of retailer shipments during Cyber 5, 89.3% arrived on time based on their original estimated delivery date, up from 82.3% during the same holiday period in 2018, Convey says. For UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service—the top three carriers in terms of package volume—the on-time percentage increased 7.0% this year.
88.0% of FedEx packages arrived on time around Cyber 5, up from 80.0% in 2018, according to Convey data. UPS fared better than FedEx with 91.6% of shipments delivered by the original estimated delivery date, up from 86.0% last year.
Temporary delays in transit are down 17.0%, Convey says. Of all packages shipped since Thanksgiving, 9.5% experienced a temporary delay, down from 11.1% in 2018. Customers also are reporting fewer delivery issues, with negative feedback on tracking pages down 28.0% from Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, through Wednesday, Dec. 4. 41.0% of Black Friday shipment feedback was negative, down from 57.0% last year.
“Even with the compressed time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re seeing positive data in our platform around improved carrier performance and more positive consumer feedback than last year,” Newbold-Knipp says. “We think this comes from retailers focusing on the delivery experience as a loyalty driver in their preparation for peak season.”