Cyber Monday shows biggest online shopping day in U.S. history

More shoppers hit brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday weekend, but their spending there drops

Philippe Wojazer —Reuters
Employees sort packages at the Amazon distribution center warehouse in Saran

NEW YORK – Shoppers spent $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday on Samsung 4K TVs, PlayStation 4s and Barbie dolls among other products, marking the largest online sales day in U.S. history. The data compiled by Adobe Digital Insights, easily surpassed prior estimates, and dismissed fears that strong web sales during the Thanksgiving weekend would hurt sales on Cyber Monday – the busiest day of the year for internet shopping historically. It also underscored the broader shift to shopping online, which is making up for slower spending in stores. Cyber Monday sales jumped 12.1 percent year-over-year and surpassed initial expectations that called for total sales of $3.36 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Top-selling electronics by units on the day include Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles as well as Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPhones and Amazon’s Fire tablets. Lego’s building blocks, Hasbro’s Nerf dart guns and Mattel’s Barbie dolls were among top-selling toys, Adobe said. Adobe collects the data by measuring 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers. Of every $10 spent at the top 500 U.S. retailers, $7.50 goes through the Adobe Marketing Cloud sales platform. Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy – and, unsurprisingly, – were early winners as shoppers kicked off the holiday shopping season by splurging on electronics such as ultra-HD TVs and gaming consoles including Sony’s PlayStation 4, analysts said. Brick-and-mortar retailers offered more promotions and greater discounts starting on Thanksgiving day, hoping to win over shoppers, who have increasingly turned to online retailers, notably Inc.”While crowds were strong, we believe that most consumers at this early stage responded solely to promotions, especially at lower- and middle-tier retailers,” BTIG analysts said in a note.Store traffic over the holiday shopping weekend was about 2 percent higher compared last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.But the discounts also had a downside, with the average amount spent slipping 3.5 percent. J.C. Penney Co Inc and Macy’s Inc were among department stores that had more promotions this year, Deutsche Bank analysts said.Wal Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp and Best Buy Co Inc have all raised wages since last year, helping to improve service and keep shelves well-stocked.Wal-Mart and Target have also significantly increased the number of items on their online stores to better compete with Amazon, Craig Hallum analysts said.More than 50 percent Wal-Mart’s Black Friday promotions, both online and stores, were on consumer electronics, compared with 33 percent at Amazon and 20 percent at Target, according researcher Clavis Insight.Data analytics firm RetailNext said it the entire four-day weekend to account for 18-21 percent of overall holiday revenue.Black Friday has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year for traditional retailers but its importance has waned over the years as online retailers offer greater convenience and discounts year-round.The NRF expects total sales this holiday season to increase by 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion.Apart from electronics, beauty products and overall sold well over the holiday weekend, analysts said, but handbag sales were muted.Overall, traffic trends appeared to be healthy, with strength at footwear maker UGG, owned by Decker’s Outdoor Corp , and Gap Inc, the biggest surprises, Jefferies& Co analysts said in a client note.