Cyber Monday has morphed into the Cyber Five as online shoppers are getting an earlier start on their holiday purchases, according to the latest data compiled by e-commerce technology company ChannelAdvisor.
Online sales for the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday jumped a robust 20.6 percent compared with a year ago, the Morrisville-based company’s data shows.
But Cyber Monday’s sales ended up being the slowest of the bunch, rising 16.7 percent. The biggest year-over-year increase was Saturday, when sales jumped 27 percent.
“It’s hard to understand the causality of this, but we saw consumers start to buy early,” said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor’s co-founder and CEO. “I don’t know if it is because of the promotions, or (if) the promotions are happening because people want to buy early.”
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It used to be that there was a lull in online shopping on the weekend after Black Friday, but not this year.
Many of the largest retailers – including Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s – launched their promotions early and kept offering them, said Wingo.
“A lot of them are calling it Cyber Week or Week of Cyber Monday Deals,” he said. “They all had a different take on it.”
As for the comparatively slow online sales on Cyber Monday, Wingo noted that it would have been even slower except that sales picked up after the sun went down.
“In the evening, people were buying at a pretty good pace,” he said. “The peak hour was at 10 p.m.”
“I think what happens there,” he added, “is you have the whole country online and awake, maybe watching some NFL Monday Night Football and doing some shopping.”
ChannelAdvisor doesn’t do forecasts, but Wingo noted that others had predicted online sales for the Cyber Five period would rise significantly less – in the range of 15 percent or 16 percent.
“Definitely pretty nice over-achievement for those five days,” he said.
Online retailer Amazon outpaced the market, with sales 23.8 percent higher over the five-day period. But its Cyber Monday sales were a below-average 13.7 percent higher.
“I think Amazon shot their promotional bullets, played their promotional cards, very early,” Wingo said. Amazon’s sales on Saturday jumped 45.9 percent.
The opposite occurred with eBay, which posted an on-par 20.5 percent increase over the five days thanks to a 32.3 percent jump on Cyber Monday.
“They just has some rip-roaring deals that it looks like they waited until Cyber Monday to unveil,” Wingo said.
Purchases made via mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – rose 25 percent over the five-day period, including a 35 percent jump on Thanksgiving.
ChannelAdvisor’s cloud-based software enables retailers to integrate and manage online purchases across a multitude of sales channels. Unlike some online sales data that extrapolate from a sampling, ChannelAdvisor’s numbers consist of actual sales data from approximately 2,500 online retailers.
Those retailers have used the company’s software for at least 13 months – making it the online equivalent to the same-store-sales data that is used as a measuring stick for brick-and-mortar retailers.
The robust online sales tracked by ChannelAdvisor contrasts to the 11 percent decline for brick-and-mortar stores over the Thanksgiving weekend estimated by the National Retail Federation.
“This is just more good news for e-commerce,” Wingo said. “What is interesting is, the traditional retailers are spending almost as much time on their online promotions as their offline. ... They are taking online a lot more seriously.”