Cyber Monday Sales Set New Record

Andrew Klips  |

According to International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) Tuesday morning, online sales soared to new heights on Cyber Monday, continuing momentum started earlier showing that consumers are digging into the wallets this holiday season.  IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks 500 U.S. retailers, reported that e-commerce sales were 30 percent higher yesterday than on Cyber Monday in 2011.

Cyber Monday, a day aptly dubbed as retailers run online discount deals the day that most people return to work after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, outstripped Black Friday sales by 36 percent.

Shoppers spent about $1.7 billion on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest online shopping day in history.  Market research firm ComScore Inc. (SCOR) predicts that $43.4 billion will be spent during the holiday shopping season, which unofficially kicked-off on Black Friday.

The amount spent per shopper decreased this year compared to last on Monday, although the number of buyers surged.  IBM said that shoppers spent an average of $185.12 per order this year versus $198.26 in 2011 with the average cart containing 8.34 items, about one more per checkout last year.

ComScore also reported that online sales for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday rose substantially compared to last year; jumping to $633 million and $1.04 billion, respectively.

IBM noted that consumers turned to the mobile devices to make purchases more than ever this year.  Usage leapt by 70 percent from 2011 to more than 18 percent of all shoppers utilizing a mobile device to simply access online retailer websites.  Mobile sales increased about 100 percent to account for 13 percent of the total purchases made online Monday.

The mobile devices of choice came from Apple (AAPL), serving as the gateway tool for 14 percent of all online sales.  The iPad was overwhelmingly the dominant tablet with more than 90 percent of all tablet users shopping with an iPad.

Online shopping hubs like EBay (EBAY) and (AMZN) were beneficiaries of consumers doing more virtual shopping.  ChannelAdvisor reported that, as of early Monday, sales generated by third-party merchants using their software (called “client sales”) were up more than 50 percent for both firms compared to the year prior.  EBay has been shifting its marketing to put greater focus on fixed-price items it sells, rather than its traditional auction format, as a direct rival of  EBay’s payment arm, PayPal, reported volumes that grew three-fold on Monday.

EBay also is able to reap the rewards of items such as Nintendo’s uber-popular new Wii U gaming system that has sold-out already in the U.S.  Consumers are turning to EBay to grab the product, but paying a premium to get it for under their tree.

Shares of EBAY are trading at $51 each, not far from all-time highs at $59.21 in late 2004.  Similarly, shares of AMZN are printing $244.45 in trading on Tuesday, just below record highs of $264.11 from September.

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