11/30/18

Lifted by Cyber Monday, Holiday Shopping Forecast Looks Bright

Thanksgiving Day 2018 was another blockbuster start to the holiday shopping season, according the latest data.

American retailers earned some $3.7 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving Day, according to Adobe. This accounts for a 28% increase compared to 2017. Americans spent $6.2 billion online on Black Friday, a 24% increase year over year.

Cyber Monday was especially good for online retailers, as online sales rose about 20% from last year to a total of about $8 billion, besting expectations. In fact, November 26, 2018 will go down in retail history.

“Cyber Monday sales topped $7.9 billion according to Adobe Analytics data, making it the single largest shopping day in U.S. history,” John Copeland, the head of Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe, said in a statement this week. “Sales coming from smartphones hit an all-time high of $2 billion and we saw a significant spike in the Buy Online, Pickup In-Store trend.”  

Based on the results from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, the National Retail Federation stood by earlier estimates that holiday shopping for November and December will total between $717 billion and $720 billion. This represents a 4.3% to 4.8% increase compared to 2017  — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. The forecast compares with an average annual increase of 3.9% over the past five years.

“For several years, we’ve been talking about the dynamic nature of the retail industry and the speed of change necessary to meet the consumer demand,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way.”

Between 2012 and 2017, the average amount spent holiday shopping increased 3.9%.

“Over the last couple of days, what I heard in discussions with retail CEOs across all categories and segments was very positive, driven by macro conditions of low unemployment and rising wages combined with the right mix of merchandise at great prices,” Shay continued. “This is a very strong emotional start to the holiday season and a positive indicator of where we are headed over the next month.”

The hottest items this year is an eclectic mix including the Nintendo Switch game console, drones, Dell laptops, the video game Red Dead Redemption 2, LG television sets, FurReal Pets toys, and Amazon Echo speakers.

NRF noted shoppers spent slightly less during the weekend – the average shopper spent $313.29 on gifts and holiday items this year, about $22 less than in 2017. Older millennials and members of Generation X spent a lot more over the weekend, shelling out $413.05 per shopper on average.

Adobe declared that the three hours between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. late on Cyber Monday were the “Golden Hours of Retail.” In a race to get some deals before Cyber Monday ended, shoppers are estimated to have spent $1.7 billion. That’s $300 million more than the average full day of online shopping any other day of the year.

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About the author

Barry Eitel
Barry Eitel
Barry Eitel has written about business and technology for eight years, including working as a staff writer for Intuit's Small Business Center and as the Business Editor for the Piedmont Post, a weekly newspaper covering the city of Piedmont, California.

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