News / Economy

'Cyber Monday' Sales Set to Hit Record as Mobile Grows

FILE - Packages that are ready to ship move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
FILE - Packages that are ready to ship move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
Reuters
U.S. online sales are expected to hit $2 billion on “Cyber Monday,” for the first time since the data firm comScore began tracking such information.
 
Monday's 20 percent increase is expected to come even after many consumers shopped earlier because retailers began offering online discounts on Sunday to compete with each other and online retail giant Amazon.com Inc.
 
As of 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT), online sales were up 17.5 percent on “Cyber Monday,” according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.
 
“All of them are behind Amazon, but some are starting to catch up,” said Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough, said of bricks-and-mortar retailer, but gave Macy's Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc good grades for their e-commerce operations.
 
E-commerce now accounts for roughly 10 percent of retail spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than sales at bricks-and-mortar stores as shoppers seek low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wider selection. Cyber Monday is the busiest day of the year for online sales.
 
U.S. shoppers spent almost three percent less overall than they did a year earlier during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation data. But online sales rose 17.3 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, outpacing sales growth at brick-and-mortar stores, data from comScore Inc  showed.
 
It is too soon to know which retailers are winning, but a fuller picture will emerge on Thursday when some stores report monthly same store sales.
 
On Monday, the S&P Retail Index finished the day down 0.7 percent. Macy's Inc. shares fell 1.5 percent, while J.C. Penney Co. Inc. was down 1.8 percent and Target Corp. down 1.9 percent. EBay Inc. was up 1.6 percent, while Gap Inc. rose up 1.5 percent.
 
Electronics were again the top seller on Cyber Monday.
 
Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson said the retailer has run out of Sony Corp PS4 and and Microsoft Corp's XBox consoles, as had Target Corp., but both chains expected fresh supplies.
 
PriceGrabber, a price comparison website, said that as of Monday afternoon, Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet was the most sought after item. Over the weekend, the most common searches were for Apple Inc.'s iPad and iPad Mini tablets.
 
Growing Importance of Mobile
 
A big source of online shopping growth this holiday season has come from increased use of smart phones, which enable consumers buy online with tablets or in-stores with their phones.
 
According to IBM, mobile sales accounted for 15.6 percent of online sales as of Monday at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) compared to 13 percent on Cyber Monday in 2012.
 
“Consumers really seem to like the ease of shopping on the go. They have been browsing with their smartphones and buying with their tablet devices,” said Jay Henderson, Strategy Director for IBM.
 
Walmart.com's Anderson said mobile shopping accounted for 55 percent of its traffic. Blue Nile Inc. Chief Executive Harvey Kanter told Reuters that 60 percent of visits to its web site and 25 percent of sales were made on a mobile device during the weekend.
 
But many retailers' websites are better suited to laptops than to phones or tablets, noted Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “There's still work to do.”
 
United Parcel Service Inc. expected to ship 32 million packages on Monday, one million more than last year, said Alan Gershenhorn, the company's chief sales, marketing, and strategy officer.
 
He said a larger proportion of online shipments are originating at retail stores rather than distribution centers, which speeds delivery and enables retailers to use unsold merchandise to fill e-commerce orders.
 
The growth of e-commerce, however, comes at a cost. Consumers have begun to expect free shipping and more retailers are feeling the impact on their bottom line as they try to keep up with Amazon's Prime program, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual fee.
 
Last month, Macy's said higher shipping costs was hitting its profit margins.
 
While most in-store sales now occur after a consumer has done research beforehand on a retail website, consumers are visiting fewer retailers when they go shopping.
 
“Instead of going store to store, they're going online, figuring out what they want, and where they need to go. So that's impacting traffic,” said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, a firm that measures store traffic.
 
That means that retailers with user-friendly websites that take advantage of bricks and mortar for delivery will benefit from the e-commerce growth.
 
Some analysts praise Macy's, Best Buy Co. Inc.  Nordstrom and Gap Inc. for blending their stores and their e-commerce to keep customers.
 
“They have to go hand and hand now - that's just how the shopper shops today,” said Ron Friedman, retail practice leader at the consulting firm Marcum LLP.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9238
JPY
USD
119.51
GBP
USD
0.6614
CAD
USD
1.2119
INR
USD
63.562

Rates may not be current.