In the days following Black Friday this year, we heard reports that consumer purchase volumes at stores were down more than 10% compared to 2013.
A number of explanations for the decline were given, among them the notion that Black Friday sales are less of a draw this year, since merchandise sales now begin before Thanksgiving and tend to run the entire month of December.
But some observers speculated as to whether soft Black Friday revenue figures presage an equally soft holiday shopping season overall.
Well … now that we have sales figures from Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday weekend), I think it’s safe to say that any concerns about a tepid holiday buying season are unfounded.
Custora E-Commerce Pulse, a customer relationship management firm which tracked more than 100 million online shoppers and over $40 billion in e-commerce revenue over the full Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, has just reported that Cyber Monday e-commerce revenues were up over 15% compared with Cyber Monday 2013.
That makes Cyber Monday 2014 the single biggest day in U.S. online shopping ever in history.
Other days of the Thanksgiving weekend also showed robust gains in online shopping: Black Friday online sales were up ~21% over 2013, and online shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself were up nearly 18% over Thanksgiving Day in 2013.
The strong growth was fueled by mobile shopping, e-mail marketing, plus online product searches on Google and other search engines.
In particular, mobile shopping accounted for ~22% of orders on Cyber Monday, significantly higher than the ~16% of orders recorded last year.
On Black Friday itself, mobile shopping accounted for around 30% of all orders — yet another dramatic increase over 2013 when mobile shopping account for just shy of 23% of orders.
This year’s Cyber Monday stats put the lie to the notion that e-mail marketing is losing its luster. In fact, e-mail marketing drove nearly one in four online shopping orders, outstripping natural search (at ~19% of all orders) and paid search (~16% of orders).
And guess which channels weren’t a meaningful part of the holiday shopping experience this year?
If you guessed social media … you’re absolutely correct.
Taken together, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounted for only about 1.5% of online e-commerce orders on Cyber Monday. (For the weekend as a whole, it was only slightly better at ~1.7%.)
This year’s statistics just add more confirmation of several truisms about online consumer marketing:
- Targeted e-mail still works the best.
- Online search is important.
- Social media is like Lucy and the football.
One thought on “It’s Official: Cyber Monday 2014 was the Biggest e-Commerce Day in U.S. History”
Here’s another factor: Cyber-shopping forces stores like Best Buy to honor web prices now, which they didn’t have to do in years past. So things are undoubtedly better for the consumer.
The problem for retailers is this: Bricks-and-mortar stores have much higher overhead costs. In the end, they may not survive.
In the meantime, consumers go into Best Buy. They “touch, feel, & play” with the product, then order through Amazon – and don’t even pay sales tax in some instances (although that may be changing).