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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
121.32
GBP
USD
0.6487
CAD
USD
1.3252
INR
USD
66.401

Rates may not be current.