Cyber Monday marked the most robust online shopping day in the history of e-commerce.
This story first appeared in the November 30, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Black Friday’s post-weekend online counterpart resulted in $1.25 billion in spending — a 22 percent leap from the same day last year, according to a report released by comScore Tuesday. Estimates were that transactions on digital mediums increased by 15 percent — a number that surpassed industry estimates by nearly 50 percent.
The overall spending jump was fueled by a combination of factors, including a rise in the number of consumers and the average amount spent per buyer. The day saw 10 million consumers shopping online, each of whom spent an average of $125.
This is the second time online shopping has reached the $1 billion mark in a single day.
Also Tuesday, The Conference Board reported the Consumer Confidence Index shot up to a four-month high in November, with the Index now at 56 from 40.9 in October.
The gain was the largest since April 2003. Both components of the Index rose, with the Present Situation Index up to 38.3 from 27.1 last month and the Expectations Index rising to 67.8 from 50.
According to Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, “Confidence has bounced back to levels last seen during the summer [in July when the index was 59.2]. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions finally improved, after six months of steady declines. Consumers’ apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably.”
Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more upbeat. Respondents who said jobs are “plentiful” rose to 5.8 percent from 3.6 percent last month. The jobs market outlook also improved, with those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increasing to 12.9 percent from 10.8 percent.
Those who expect their incomes to rise increased to 14.9 percent from 11.1 percent last month.
The surge in confidence was more evident in shopping than buying on Cyber Monday, according to preliminary results on the day from The NPD Group.
The portion of consumers shopping online rose to 28 percent from 21 percent on Cyber Monday of 2010 and, of the Web browsers, 16 percent made at least one online purchase, up from 12 percent on the comparable 2010 day. Yet, the average amount spent on those online purchases dropped 32.1 percent, to $187.83 from $276.71 last year.
Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, noted that deflationary trends in electronics helped to lower overall sales activity. While the percentage purchasing apparel online declined on Monday, there was more than a 10 percent increase in electronics purchases.
Alluding to “pent-up demand and frugal fatigue,” Cohen noted, “Customers have been saving up and not shopping for months waiting for these deals, and they scored.”
Twenty percent of the more than 3,300 U.S. consumers interviewed said they shopped in a store on Monday, up from 14 percent last year, and 16 percent of those in stores made a purchase, up from 11 percent.