Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Cyber Monday is a marketing campaign that e-commerce companies kicked off in 2005 to piggyback Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday sales. It's been amazingly effective. In 2016, it became the biggest shopping day in the history of US e-commerce with a record consumer spend of $3.45 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
Cyber Monday has become the end-cap of the shopping period that traditionally begins on Thanksgiving Day, which is always the last Thursday of November. It informally signals the start of the festive shopping season, although there has been a trend of holiday sales creep into October.
A bellwether for the e-commerce industry, the event has matured to become a leading indicator of the health of the US economy and consumer confidence. In 2016, customers spent $3.45 billion, a 12 percent rise year-on-year, and beat the online spend during Black Friday, which reached $3.34 billion.
These numbers are certainly impressive, but China's Singles' Day makes them look somewhat miniscule: Alibaba alone sold $18 billion worth of merchandise during the event on 11 November 2016 (see The Lonely Hearts Club Brand).
Companies have been recognising the significance of the mobile retail experience with traditional bricks-and-mortar stores — notably Walmart, and J.C. Penney — concentrating on improving their mobile sites and apps in 2016.
Mobile devices are playing an increasingly important role during shopping, either as a source of information or to complete the entire transaction. Adobe stated that on Cyber Monday, mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets represented 53 percent of all visits — smartphones alone accounted for 44 percent — and 25 percent of all purchases were made on mobile devices. Target, a major big-box retailer, reported that mobile shopping contributed more than 60 percent of its online sales during the event, while Wal-Mart claimed that 60 percent of its Black Friday orders came from mobile.
Adobe reported that retail sales via mobile devices reached $1.07 billion on Cyber Monday, a 34 percent increase year-on-year, and the figure was $1.2 billion for Black Friday. This was the first time in US retail history that consumers used mobile devices to order more than $1 billion worth of goods. Though these are still early days, mobile devices will continue to play a bigger role in the shopping experience and we expect more sales records to fall by the wayside in the coming years.
(Note: like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has become a global movement, with the day being replicated in countries across Europe and Asia.)