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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.