According to Insights from Adobe, last year the total spend online was $83 billion for November and December.
Already, online sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5 represent an almost 8 percent increase compared to 2015, and Adobe forecasts a remaining $39 billion in online sales through the end of the month.
By Monday, Adobe Digital Insights principal analyst and director Tamara Gaffney said online sales were already past the halfway mark for the overall season projection. “This week is an ‘in between’ as shoppers looking for deals bought last week and procrastinators haven’t started yet,” she said.
The proliferation of mobile shopping has been a big trend this year, with mobile shopping bringing in more than $16 billion in revenue so far, mainly from smartphones and driving 49 percent of visits to retail web sites and 31 percent of purchases.
Smartphone conversion rates are at 1.5 percent, which is lower than for desktop devices (3.6 percent) or tablets, at 3.1 percent.
No longer restricted to simply Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, retailers have begun to treat the holiday shopping season after Thanksgiving as “Cyber Month.” According to research from PayPal, merchants are offering online deals throughout the months of November and December. PayPal predicts that as more retailers get on board with that trend and more people turn to mobile devices to shop, there will be a “graying” of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Indeed, according to Adobe, which measures insights based on aggregated and anonymous data from 24 billion visits to retail web sites, Mondays tend to be big online shopping days. For example, Dec. 5 brought in $1.94 billion this year (almost 9 percent more than last year) and Dec. 12, known as “Green Monday,” is expected to bring in $2 billion. This is likely because consumers plan spending over the weekend and then shop on Monday, while procrastinators “kick into high gear,” according to an Adobe report.
This week, for example, Amazon began a 12 Days of Deals promotion, with daily themes and mobile-only sales starting Dec. 7. Dec. 8, the fashion-themed day, includes deals on Levi’s and cold-weather accessories.
Adobe found that out-of-stock messages have increased slightly since Cyber Monday at almost 14 percent; still, this is 1.6 percent lower than the same time in 2015.
Shipping costs were down about 5 percent compared to the same time last year, but have been growing since Cyber Monday and are now about 10 percent higher than the same time last year. This year, they were lowest on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, and were down 8 percent on Black Friday and the weekend following. Shipping costs are expected to increase on Dec. 12 and to peak on Dec. 19.
The top sites and brands on social media after Cyber Monday were eBay, followed by Amazon, H&M, Wal-Mart and Target. Top promotion drivers were search ads, which contributed to 39.5 percent of sales, and direct sales, which accounted for 26.9 percent of revenues.
Among the top gifts are toys, which are most likely to be out of stock, and electronics, including gaming consoles, iPads and TVs.
PayPal also found that three in five Americans wish they could ask for cash instead of gifts, but 63 percent of respondents to a survey said that money wasn’t personal enough, which made giving money unappealing. To that end, PayPal linked with Jonathan Adler to design six exclusive digital gifting cards to personalize person-to-person payments. During the month of December, PayPal expects to see more than 17 million of these transactions, with giving money for the holidays being one of the top use cases.
Gifting platform Loop Commerce, which evaluated Cyber Week purchases from retailers including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Coach, also spotted personalization as a gifting trend. While the top categories of apparel, home items and accessories were consistent year-over-year, the company saw a shift.
“Technology has influenced retail and e-commerce in a way that enables gift buyers to choose more personalized, thoughtful gifts,” said Roy Erez, chief executive officer and co-founder of Loop Commerce. “By offering greater flexibility and unique tools that inspire confidence in selecting the perfect gift, consumers are choosing riskier items like apparel and accessories this holiday season versus the traditionally safer gifts. It’s also interesting to observe other consumer shopping behaviors when gift purchasing is not limited to the pre-conditions of e-commerce — such as the need for early and last-minute gift purchases.”