For the kickoff to the 2016 holiday shopping season, apparel and footwear global retail online sales were strong, according to exclusive data from DynamicAction.
Meanwhile, a separate report from RetailNext Inc. showed traffic in physical stores declined for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend.
The advanced analytics firm crunched the data on $4 billion of online transactions for “Cyber Weekend,” which is the period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Sarah Engel, senior vice president of global marketing, described the results as robust with total global online revenue showing a 13 percent gain for the weekend versus the same period last year.
The 13 percent gain is on track to what analysts are forecasting for the entire holiday shopping season. In a report last month, Big Commerce said it is expecting online sales this season to show a 17 percent year-over-year gain. Earlier this week, e-commerce sales in the U.S. alone rose 12.1 percent to $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday. The results were 2.6 percent above a forecast from Adobe.
Globally, Dynamic Action said total revenue for Cyber Monday also showed a 13 percent year-over-year gain. Moreover, shoppers were loading up online carts as “average order volume” revealed a 7 percent global gain this year over last. And on Cyber Monday, average order volume clocked a 5 percent gain. But these gains came with some pressure to the bottom line on Cyber Monday — although, overall, the weekend was showed a year-over-year improvement, Engel’s report showed.
Margin reductions due to markdowns for Cyber Monday were up 4 percent globally, but for the weekend period, overall reductions were down 5 percent. The firm also noted that online “orders using markdowns” were down an average of 5 percent for the Cyber Weekend, and down 8 percent for Cyber Monday.
“Important, I think to also note, is ‘orders using promotions’ — although they didn’t do straight price cuts, apparel retailers promoted more than ever with 20- to 40-percent-off offers, gift-with-purchase, etc.,” Engel said adding that orders using promotions, which “are applied at checkout automatically or via a promo code” were up 29 percent for the weekend period and up 31 percent on Cyber Monday alone.
Regarding “global inventory not sold,” Engel said it was down about 17 percent for Cyber Weekend and 16 percent on Cyber Monday. And “units per order” were up about 3 percent for Cyber Weekend and up 9 percent for Cyber Monday. In regard to online “marketing cost,” Engel said it was up year-over-year by 113 percent for the weekend, and 149 percent for Cyber Monday.
In the RetailNext report, the analytics specialist firm said for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, U.S. store sales fell 4.2 percent — which is on top of a 4.4 percent drop in store traffic.
Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, said “brick-and-mortar sales and traffic numbers tell only part of the retail story, as many brands saw tremendous lift in their online channels that will positively impact overall performance, and Black Friday weekend was consistent with the expectations for a previously forecasted 3.2 percent rise in seasonal sales.”
“If anything, the weekend results underlie the importance of brands effectively converging digital and physical channels to deliver a single, seamless shopping experience to consumers, particularly during the high-volume holiday season, as well as engaging store traffic to ensure conversion somewhere along a brand’s many shopper touch points,” Kohan added.
At physical stores, Kohan said “average unit retail” showed a 10.5 percent decline compared to the same period last year, “and was indicative of the heavy price promotion strategies brands deployed to cut through the ‘noise’ of the holiday weekend,” she said.
“Those strategies led to some of the early holiday season winners including off-price discount retailers, outlets and warehouse clubs, but generally did no favors to department stores, specialty apparel and other segments,” Kohan added.