It is no surprise to learn that Cyber Week sales in the U.S. reached $34.4B in 2020, representing a 20.7% year-over-year increase from 2019’s shopping season. Given the limitations of pandemic-related in-person sales in many U.S. states, and the fact that many retailers have streamlined the purchase process, consumers have responded by embracing online shopping in a dramatically accelerated fashion.
According to a report from Adobe Analytics, which surveys online transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers, Cyber Monday sales topped $10.8B, marking the day as the busiest online shopping day ever. Cyber Monday spending rose 15.1% over 2019’s sales figures to reach that $10.8B figure, although it was not as high as the firm’s initial forecast of $12.7B.
That initial forecast also expected to see U.S. consumers pushing online shopping growth to $189B in 2020, which would have marked a 33% growth figure for 2020 over the previous year. After the Cyber Monday sales figures came in, Adobe revised its estimate down slightly to $184B, representing a 30% increase and marks two years of online sales growth in one calendar year.
Adobe also says that Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2020 also marked records for online shopping, with a 21.5% increase ($5.1B) spent on Turkey Day and a 21.6% increase ($9B) spent on Black Friday.
There are several takeaways to note from the 2020 shopping season to date. During the November 1–30 shopping period, 10 of 30 days eclipsed the $3B mark, showing that consumers — and retailers — are stretching out the season. Gone are the days of waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales; as retailers are lengthening the sale periods, customers are responding in kind by opening their wallets since there is more time to grab the deals that are important to them.
We can also infer that the extended shopping period is an effort by major retailers to combat Amazon’s Prime Day — which occurred October 13–14, 2020 — and capture some of those sales, without the discounts that Amazon uses, which hurt margins and profit in the name of market share.
During the same November 1–30 shopping period, consumers using smartphones spent $39.6B (39%), with $60.7B (61%) of purchases made through laptops, tablets, and other devices. The market has been shifting to a mobile-first ecosystem for several years, and 2020 may prove to be the tipping point as retailers continue this focus to simplify the number of steps for consumers to open their wallets.
Mobile payment options like Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, and others continue to accelerate growth in this arena. Other services like Affirm, Afterpay, and PayPal’s new Pay In 4 option make it easy for consumers to budget payments for big-ticket items.
We’ve all seen the massive riots in businesses like Walmart when they offer 50-inch flat-screen LED televisions for the price of a good pair of running shoes, but in 2020, shoppers instead perused retail websites to grab those deals. The long lines are gone, as are the big crowds, likely never to return as consumers shift their priorities. They’ve made an effort to take advantage of pandemic-related options like curbside pickup rather than waking at 3 a.m. to get to the local mall and get in line with hundreds or thousands of other deal-seekers.
Another interesting note is that many consumers waited until late in the day on Cyber Monday to spend their cash. Fully 25% of sales were made between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Pacific time.
This online shopping explosion is not without impact as UPS — and other shipping services — became overwhelmed with the massive influx of packages. According to a Wall Street Journal report, “What Can Brown Do For You” turned into “We Can’t Do Any More” as the shipping company halted package pickup for large retailers like Nike, Gap, Macy’s, and others due to volume constraints, promising to pick up packages later in the week in a bid to ensure its package pickup, sorting, and shipping facilities are not overwhelmed by the volume.
From a marketing perspective, the rise of online shopping in 2020 ties into several educational articles we’ve developed here at Kahn Media: Adapting Your Business Model to 2020’s Holiday Shopping Trends, 70% Of Consumers Will Holiday Shop Online: Here’s How To Reach Them, and our most recent KM101 article, Optimizing The Digital Sales Funnel For Your Business. These articles dive into the processes behind the purchase and help you be most successful in attracting the customers you want by converting them into buyers rather than lookers.
Online shopping is not going away, so embrace the idea of being successful and help your customers get the products they want and need when they need them. If you need help, reach out to us to see what we can do for you.