Retailers shift their ad spending from TV, radio and print ads to digital ads.
More than 100 million consumers will shop online for Cyber Monday, the NRF says.
Consumers shopped in record numbers this Thanksgiving weekend, as online shopping rose 28% to $407 million on Thanksgiving Day and 9% to $648 million on Black Friday, comScore Inc. said today. Meantime, total spending over the holiday weekend reached an all-time high of about $45 billion in offline and online shopping, the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, reported today.
Although the NRF didn’t break out online sales, Shop.org, the NRF’s online retailing division, said 33.6% of the weekend’s shoppers shopped online, up from 28.5% last year. Altogether, 212 million shopped offline and online, up about 9% from 195 million a year ago, the NRF said.
The strong shopping activity will continue into Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, when the number of consumers who will shop online will rise 11% year over year to 106.9 million, while the number shopping via mobile devices will nearly double to 7 million, Shop.org said.
The weekend’s strong sales pushed aside some concerns that earlier-than-usual holiday season promotions this year would boost pre-Thanksgiving sales while taking away from sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. “With so many promotions in advance of Black Friday this year, there was concern that retailers would borrow Peter to pay Paul,” a spokesman for the NRF said in a Sunday conference call with reporters. “But we had strong sales up to Black Friday and still saw strong increases” over the weekend. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is recognized as the day when many retailers begin to make a profit for the year.
He added that shoppers said they would complete 38.6% of the holiday season shopping by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, about the same as last year. The NRF and Shop.org figures were based on a survey of more than 4,300 consumers conducted by BIGresearch on Nov. 25 through Nov. 27; they include projections of shopping activity on Sunday, Nov. 28.
According to comScore, consumers have spent $11.64 billion online during the first 26 days of the November-December shopping season, up 13% from the same period last year. It also notes that the $648 million spent online on Black Friday made Nov. 26 the heaviest day of online shopping so far in 2010.
Shop.org noted that 89.6% of Cyber Monday shoppers, or 96 million, will shop from their home computers, while 6.9%, or more than 7 million, will use a mobile device for tasks including researching and comparison shopping as well as making purchases. “Mobile is becoming just as important for buying as it is for in-store comparison shopping,” a spokeswoman for the NRF said in the conference call.
On Cyber Monday 44.2% of shoppers plan to start shopping early in the morning; 37.5% late in the morning and 28.5% in the early evening, Shop.org said. It also noted that 12.1% will shop from work on Monday, down slightly from 13.5% a year ago.
“Hundreds of retailers have already announced special Cyber Monday promotions ranging from free shipping offers to flash sales lasting only an hour or two,” says Joan Broughton, interim executive director of Shop.org.
With holiday promotions playing heavily into this holiday season’s early shopping activity, Shop.org said more than 700 e-retailers will participate in offering products through CyberMonday.com, which will offer hundreds of promotions, including some that are exclusive to the site, Shop.org said. The site will also feature this year a Deal of the Hour, which will highlight a different retail promotion including free shipping, free gifts and price discounts, on its home page every 60 minutes. Participating retailers include Barnes & Noble, Lands’ End and Toys ‘R’ Us.
CyberMonday.com will also distribute hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards daily through Dec. 25 to its followers on Facebook and through Twitter.
Indeed, many retailers were early to promote their own Cyber Monday deals this weekend. “Cyber Monday starts now,” said a pre-6 a.m. Central time, Sunday e-mail promotion from Hewlett-Packard Co.’s HPShopping.com, which offered free shipping on most orders and discounts of up to 60% on featured products.
Other Cyber Monday e-mail offers distributed on Sunday included savings ranging from 20% to 83% on a list consumer electronics, video games and other products from Amazon.com; 20% off artificial Christmas trees, up to 45% off other products and free shipping on more than 90,000 products from HomeDepot.com; up to 50% off from doll retailer American Girl; and 20% off and free shipping from apparel merchant Coldwater Creek.
Apparel retailer Urban Outfitters e-mailed a CyberMonday promotion on Sunday for free shipping but noted that the offer “ends tomorrow.”
With consumers shopping for value and bargains this year, retailers should keep the incentives flowing, the NRF suggests. “As retailers look ahead to the first few weeks of December, it will be important for them to keep momentum going with savings and incentives that holiday shoppers simply can’t pass up,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
ComScore notes that many shoppers researched Black Friday deals on comparison deal sites. 3.6 million consumers visited coupon web sites on Black Friday, up from 4 percent a year ago, as the total number of visits to such sites rose 16% to 7.4 million. It also notes that BlackFriday.info was the most visited coupon site on Black Friday, with 630,000 unique visitors, followed by CouponCabin.com, with 543,000; and RetailMeNot.com and Groupon.com, each with 332,000.
Among sites dedicated to Black Friday deals analyzed by comScore, Black-Friday.net led with 3.15 million unique visitors, up 42% from a year ago. Unique visitors are counted only once each month, regardless of how many times a visitor visited a site.
Following is the full list of Black Friday deals sites analyzed by comScore, with their number of unique visitors in millions and the change from a year ago:
• Black-Friday.net, 3.15, 42%
• Blackfriday.info, 2.67, -3%
• Bfads.net, 2.48, -37%
• BlackFriday2010.com, 1.54, 478%
• TheBlackFriday.com, 1.26, -8%
• BlackFriday.com, 0.63, 14%
• BlackFriday.fm, 0.42, 3%
• Gottadeal.com, 0.23, -49%