As the 2014 holiday shopping season is underway let’s look at online sales vs. brick and mortar sales. “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are on a lot of people’s minds so we’ll break down the stats for you with some quick facts:
Black Friday brick & mortar sales down
In general, consumers are continuing the shift from brick and mortar to online. That’s obvious. Although Black Friday is still a big day for brick and mortar store sales, actual sales from Black Friday are dropping. The National Retail Federation reports 55% of holiday shoppers were in stores and shopping online during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, down from 59% in 2013.
They also report that brick & mortar sales over the weekend were down 11% from 2013.
Online sales up
Cyber Monday continues to grow and broke $2 billion in online sales this year (note to followers of this blog: we often report on automotive parts and accessory sales online, but here we’re referring to all online sales). Any way you look at it, online sales were up according to comScore: Online sales Nov. 1 through Dec. 1 2014 were up 16% vs. Nov. 2-Dec. 2, 2013. Online sales on Thanksgiving were up 32%, Black Friday sales were up 26% and Cyber Monday sales were up 17% over 2013. All figures exclude online auctions (as we often do in our own reporting) and exclude large corporate purchases.
Also according to comScore, online sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday brought in $6.5 billion, a 24% increase from $5.3 billion in 2013.
What’s up with all those negative headlines?
If you browse around the Internet for Cyber Monday 2014 news reports you’ll see headlines like: “Cyber Monday results sluggish as sales spread over multiple days,” “Cyber Monday sales start slow as early discounts hurt,” “Cyber Monday growth slows after retail sales fell Thanksgiving weekend,” and our favorite headline from USA Today: “Fewer people expected to shop Cyber Monday.”
Some of the negative-appearing headlines we’ve seen refer to a sales increase for 2014 which was smaller as a percentage than the increase in previous years. While the increase may be smaller, that is not an indication that online sales are in trouble, merely that online sales are maturing as a sales channel.
And some of the headlines we just can’t figure out at all, other than they were written to be click bait.
Shoppers were ready to buy online and will continue to buy through December
In general, conversion rates for Thanksgiving weekend were up, as a good indication that online shoppers were ready to pull the trigger and click the “buy” button. We’ve seen reports of 50% to 200% improvements in conversion rates over the five days (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday).
We’re also advising our clients to be actively promoting over the next few weeks. Monday, December 8 and Monday, December 15 will be good shopping days, including the weekends before and Tuesdays after.