Holiday online spending was expected to be flat this year, but early activity has defied expectations thanks to significant discounts. Online sales on Cyber Monday totaled $11.3 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, which monitors seasonal e-commerce activity. This is a record for the day and the year thus far because it represents an increase of 5.8% over consumer spending on the same day the previous year ($10.7 billion in sales were reported, down from $10.8 billion in 2020).
As we previously mentioned, sales for Black Friday ($9.12 billion) and Thanksgiving ($5.29 billion) both exceeded initial projections. All told, “Cyber Week” will generate $35.27 billion in online sales, up 4% from last year and representing 16.7% of all sales made in the months of November and December. This period includes those holidays as well as the days people return to work while continuing to shop online.
Adobe anticipates $210 billion in sales over the next two months, with 44% of those sales coming from mobile devices.
Notably, Adobe stated that these figures were based on more transactions overall, despite the fact that inflation is undoubtedly present in the United States. On Monday, spending peaked at $12.8 million per minute, according to Adobe, which also noted that prices have been nearly unchanged recently. Adobe’s digital price index tracks prices across 18 categories.
Additionally, the sheer availability of goods following previous shortages has played a significant role, as have steep discounts—retailers may have anticipated needing to have something more to entice customers.
“Retailers made the right decision this season to drive demand through heavy discounting,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “With oversupply and a softening consumer spending environment.”
Electronics saw discounts as high as 25% off (compared to 8% in the same period last year), and toys saw the biggest sales with average discounts of 34%.
According to Adobe, its data is derived from one trillion visits to U.S. retail websites, which include 100 million SKUs and 18 different product categories.
Games, gaming consoles, Legos, Hatchimals, Disney Encanto, Pokémon cards, Bluey, Dyson products, strollers, Apple Watches, drones, and digital cameras were among the most popular items, according to the report.
In terms of other trends, people continued to use buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) transactions to make purchases, though they seemed to be slightly down on Monday compared to Black Friday and the weekend. According to Adobe, this is partly because people are more likely to use BNPL when their shopping cart totals are higher.
Although Cyber Monday’s 43% of all online sales when people are back at their desks was clearly down from the 55% of purchases on Thanksgiving, mobile continues to account for a significant portion of purchasing.
The key question at this point will be whether online retailers and consumers maintain this level of activity or if this was just an excessive push for discounts that will subside in the coming days and weeks. The e-commerce industry’s recent layoffs and the lower-than-expected valuations of its companies are two signs that more difficult times are ahead.