Practical Ecommerce

Ecommerce Strong on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

The much anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza showed mixed results with online sales outpacing disappointing brick-and-mortar results.

Brick-and-mortar Sales

Brick-and-mortar retail sales on Black Friday were disappointing. The tactic of opening stores on Thanksgiving Day simply spread spending over two days rather than increasing it. While Thanksgiving Day store traffic increased by 27 percent over last year according to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday brick-and-mortar retail sales decreased 13.2 percent from last year. Meanwhile, stores that did open on Thanksgiving Day garnered substantial bad publicity for denying their employees a day off while the stores paid time and a half for those working on the holiday. Overall, for the two-day period retail sales increased by 2.3 percent over last year, with shoppers spending a total of $12.3 billion, according to retail analytics firm ShopperTrak. The company also reported that store visits on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday fell four percent from last year.

According to IBM’s 2013 Holiday Benchmark Reports — one for Black Friday, one for Cyber Monday — department stores did attract shoppers to their websites if not to their retail stores. Department store Cyber Monday online sales grew by 70.3 percent over 2012, with mobile sales growing 52 percent year over year. The average order value was $161.83, up 18.7 percent over 2012.

Ecommerce Results

Online sales set a new record with Thanksgiving Day online sales increasing by 19.7 percent over 2012 followed by Black Friday, with sales increasing 19 percent over last year. The average order value for Black Friday was $135.27, up two percent over last year.

This year’s Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in history with a 20.6 percent increase in online sales over 2012 according to the IBM 2013 Holiday Benchmark Report, which relies on a survey of 800 ecommerce websites. The average order value was $128.77, down one percent from last year. Mobile sales were particularly strong, reaping 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent over last year. Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday became the biggest five-day online sales period on record, increasing 16.5 percent over the same period last year.

Mobile Sales

Shoppers enthusiastically embraced their mobile devices for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. IBM found that sales on smartphones and tablets grew by more than 40 percent from Black Friday last year. Mobile sales grew to 25.8 percent of total online sales on Thanksgiving Day and to 21.8 percent on Black Friday.

On Cyber Monday traffic from smartphones and tablets grew to 31.7 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 45 percent over 2012.  People did not just browse on their mobile devices; they bought. Mobile sales contributed over 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent over last year.   

One interesting finding is that shoppers like to browse merchandise on smartphones but when it’s time to check out they reach for tablets. According to IBM, sales generated on tablets contributed more than 14 percent of online sales on Black Friday, roughly twice the amount contributed by smartphones. Those who purchase via tablets are also bigger spenders — with average orders of $133, while the average order for smartphone purchasers was about $115.

Interestingly, the day supposedly devoted to online sales racked up less traffic and fewer mobile sales than Black Friday. Cyber Monday mobile traffic decreased 20 percent and mobile sales decreased 21 percent from Black Friday this year.

According to IBM, it is Apple mobile devices that drive mobile sales, and Apple users spend more money per order, as follows.

  • Black Friday. On average, Apple iOS users spent $127.92 per order, compared to $105.20 per order for Android devices. iOS devices garnered 28.2 percent of all online traffic compared to 11.4 percent for Android. iOS sales accounted for 18.1 percent of all online sales, compared to 3.5 percent for Android.
  • Cyber Monday. On average, Apple iOS users spent $120.29 per order, compared to $106.70 per order for Android. iOS traffic reached 22.4 percent of all online traffic, compared to 9.1 percent for Android. iOS sales reached 14.5 percent of all online sales, compared to 2.6 percent for Android.

Social Shopping

Facebook and Pinterest drove the most traffic this year, according to the IBM reports. On Black Friday, holiday shoppers referred from Pinterest spent 77 percent more per order than shoppers referred from Facebook. The Pinterest average order value was $92.51, compared with the Facebook average order value of $52.30. In contrast, on Cyber Monday, shoppers referred from Facebook spent six percent more per order than shoppers referred from Pinterest. The Facebook average order value was $97.81 versus the Pinterest average order value of $92.40.

Marcia Kaplan

Marcia Kaplan

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  1. Rob Mangiafico December 10, 2013 Reply

    Nice stat round-up Marcia. The ecommerce numbers look rosy for the big e-tailers, but for the smaller sized ecommerce merchants, the picture isn’t as bright.

    We collected stats on a few hundred small merchant stores, and found order volume down in 2013, while revenue and AOV were up. Not exactly tracking with the big merchants:

    I wonder if small business is losing market shared to the larger stores on these busy shopping days, due to the money they throw at ads and discounts?

    • Marcia Kaplan December 10, 2013 Reply

      I think you are correct that larger businesses dominate these big shopping days because of the publicity and mind-share they achieve with their ads and discounts. However, I believe that smaller merchants can compete during the remainder of the holiday season if they have unique, competitively priced product offerings and superior customer service. And free shipping helps as well.

      • Rob Mangiafico December 10, 2013 Reply

        I agree. We’ll be running the holiday numbers for 2012 and 2013 for small merchants in a few weeks to see if that is the case for the entire shopping season. I’ll report back with what we find. :)

  2. Wendi Makuch December 16, 2013 Reply

    We found our online merchants actually tracked the “big guys” in terms of the bump up in sales over the Cyber-Five. We did comparisons of a month earlier and the same period in 2012. All systems are strong and our retailers appear to be having a great 2013 holiday selling season.

    Here’s our recap: