The U.S. online shopping world's biggest day is here, but will strong web sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving cut into Cyber Monday's take?
Based on its processing volume, payment processor CyberSource reports that consumers like to shop from work, but a subtle shift to near-24-hour shopping is taking place as global e-commerce and broadband access in the home spread.
As broadband Internet access spreads into homes, a debate has emerged as to when consumers shop online and whether work is still the preferred shopping venue. The latest to weigh in with stats is Mountain View, CA-based payments processor CyberSource Corp. Its verdict: Consumers like to shop from work, but a subtle shift to near-24-hour shopping is taking place.
"We`ve all seen the numbers-broadband is now in two-thirds of American homes equipped for the Internet," says Doug Schwegman, CyberSource director of market and customer intelligence. "But our processing stats say the majority of people are still doing their online shopping from the office."
The peak shopping hour during the week of Dec. 3-9 was 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Cybersource says. Online transactions typically hit their low between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Eastern. The highest volume online shopping days are Mondays and Tuesdays with Saturdays and Sundays typically showing lowest volumes, Cybersource reports.
But change is occurring. The difference between the highest and lowest volume hours is diminishing, Cybersource reports. "The graphs are flattening-albeit with much higher numbers. Online shopping is not only getting bigger, it`s becoming more of a 24-hour phenomenon," Schwegman says.
In the same week in 2004, the difference between the lowest and the highest number of transactions was approximately 300%. In 2006, that difference has decreased to approximately 160%.
"We believe several factors are at work here: one, the widespread availability of broadband, so people can conveniently shop from home, and two, the globalization of e-commerce,” Schwegman says. “We know from our latest fraud survey that many of our large merchants have 17% or more of their volume coming from outside the U.S. Just last year, that percentage was 14%."
The increasing popularity of purchasing digital goods like music, video and software over the Internet also increases the number of online shoppers from other time zones shopping at U.S. sites, Cybersource says.