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 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 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
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 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. 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.'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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.