Saturday 24 March 2018

Cyber Monday turns into Cyber Week as spending pace slows

Americans are spreading their spending sprees over the weekend now.
Americans are spreading their spending sprees over the weekend now.

Spencer Soper

The pace of online spending in the US slowed on Cyber Monday after consumers started their internet shopping earlier over the weekend, turning to their smartphones to pick up deals, according to IBM.

Web-based sales climbed 18pc on Monday from a year earlier, after jumping 26pc last Saturday and Sunday, IBM said in a final report yesterday. Still, Cyber Monday remains the biggest online spending day, with total outlays hitting a record $3bn this year, according to Adobe Systems.

US purchasing patterns are shifting as more spending moves online and away from traditional stores.

For most of the past decade, the Monday following Thanksgiving was the busiest day for web shopping as US consumers returned to work and used their offices' fast internet connections to buy holiday gifts.

But the rise of smartphones and speedier home internet service has led consumers to snag online deals throughout the holiday weekend. Retailers - traditional and electronic - are now offering bargains earlier than ever.

"Cyber Monday is becoming Cyber Week," said Marlene Morris Towns, a Georgetown University marketing professor who studies online shopping. "We'll see a less dramatic spike on Cyber Monday."

Still, retailers' revenue on Monday and the weekend showed an increase compared with 2014, when online sales grew 8.5pc and 17pc. Some of the most popular items on weekend shopping lists included televisions from Samsung, Sony and LG Electronics, as well as the Apple Watch and Beats by Dre headphones, according to IBM's Watson Trend app. Other popular choices are hoverboards, Nike running shoes, Activision Blizzard's Skylanders video-game series and Star Wars R2-D2 droids.

Thanksgiving was the fastest-growing online shopping day, with sales rising 25pc to a record $1.7bn, according to Adobe. About 37pc of Thanksgiving sales came from smartphones and tablets, up from 29pc in 2014, according to Adobe. Online spending on Black Friday increased 14pc from 2014.

"It certainly is becoming more like Cyber November because people are getting a jump on their holiday shopping much earlier year over year," Joanna Lambert, vice president of global consumer product and engineering at PayPal, said.

More than 103 million people shopped online over the four- day weekend, which started last Thursday on Thanksgiving, according to an annual survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. That compares with fewer than 102 million who ventured into traditional stores, it said.

Smartphones were the preferred method of online purchases on Cyber Monday, according to IBM, driving 15pc of internet sales, up about 70pc from last year. That compares with 12.4pc of buys made on tablets. But the value of merchandise was higher for purchases made on desktops, with the average order hitting $128, followed by tablets at $124.14 and smartphone buys averaging $102.02 per order, according to IBM.


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