Cyber Monday is off to a flying start for online shopping in the US. As of 7am Pacific, $840 million has been spent, up 16.9 percent on Cyber Monday 2016. The day is projected to break $6.6 billion in sales before it’s over, the highest-ever total for a single day of shopping in U.S. e-commerce history.
The figures come from Adobe, which has been tracking shopping online in the last few days as retailers officially kick-off of holiday shopping season, the most important time of the year for their businesses. These early days are seen by many as a bellwether for how the next six weeks will play out.
Adobe — which extrapolates its figures by analysing 80 percent of online transactions to the 100 largest web retailers in the country — says that November has so far racked up $43.42 billion in sales. The 2017 holiday season overall is projected to net $107.4 billion, compared to $94.4 billion in 2016.
Cyber Monday has traditionally been an especially strong day for buying online. The reason: it’s a perfect storm of discounts that kicked off on Friday, combined with people heading back to work after the long weekend, and therefore no longer able to go to physical stores as easily throughout the day to pick up deals. (We run through some of the more interesting bargains for tech products here.)
What will be interesting to observe is whether the strong days preceding today are a sign of how strong Cyber Monday will be; or whether consumers’ buying power was largely spent shopping in the lead-up, resulting in a more sluggish buying day.
So far, the signs are point to a strong day, Adobe said. Overall traffic is up 12 percent (season average: 5.7 percent). As with other days in the long weekend, mobile has been very much a part of the story: 53.3 percent of visits (44.6 percent smartphones, the rest tablets). Smartphones also accounted for 41 percent of sales.
“Cyber Monday is expected to make history again as the biggest U.S. online shopping day of all time, driving a billion dollars more than last year,” writes Tamara Gaffney, Strategic Insights engagement group director at Adobe. “As consumers make their way back to work, they are poised to be hitting the buy button all day, as most big discounts will end by midnight. A lot more of this will be happening on smartphones as well, where smoother buying experiences through auto-fill capabilities are helping drive the growth we see in mobile.”
So far, the season has been record-breaking, both in terms of total sales and how shoppers are making a big shift to mobile to browse and buy.
Thanksgiving generated $2.87 billion in sales, Black Friday $5.03 billion, and “Small Business Saturday” (the latest ‘named’ shopping holiday) brought in $2.82 billion (no name yet, and hence no tracking, for Sunday), all significant rises year-on-year.
On those days, mobile devices accounted for between 46 and 54 percent of all site visits, and between 30 and 37 percent of all sales, said Adobe, the biggest proportion yet. Interestingly, Adobe said that Small Business Saturday saw the biggest smartphone usage yet, which is somewhat surprising as you might assume that small businesses were more likely to focus on physical store sales (when in actual fact, the state of modern retail rental has led many small business to shift to online-only because rents in high-traffic places are just too high for any business but a big business). It saw smartphone traffic of 46.5% and 56.7% for mobile overall.
At this moment, Shopify is tracking that there are around $280,000 in sales being made every minute (and in the time I’ve been writing, the number has shot up by about $20,000). As a point of comparison, Shopify noted that at its peak, this year’s Black Friday was generating $1 million in sales each minute.
Top items for purchasing, according to Shopify, are Apparel, Accessories and Housewares (in that order). The “cyber” of Cyber Monday is more related to how you shop than what you shop for: Electronics is the sixth-most-popular category for shopping today, between makeup and food.
Adobe, meanwhile, highlights toys, whose prices are down 18.8 percent since October; computers (discounted 14.7 percent) and TVs (21.1 percent discounted).
We’ll update this post as we get more data. If you see anything interesting related to shopping stats online — for example global features rather than those exclusively covering the US market — send it our way to email@example.com and we’ll roll that in too.