Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Black Friday: U.S. Online Retail Up 20% Year-Over-Year!

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I had absolutely nothing to do with shopping today, online or off.  But I seemed to have been a minority, and for those retailers looking to the holiday season to help bolster an otherwise anemic year, they will be excited by the news delivered today by the IBM Coremetrics e-retailing Black Friday Benchmark Report.

No flies on those guys! Apparently they were too busy counting everyone else’s clicks to pursue any of their own.

Click image to enlarge. Black Friday e-retail sales in U.S. were up 20% over the same period last year, with consumers turning to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for their e-shopping efforts more than they ever have.

E-retail sales at major online retailers were up 20 percent as of 3 P.M. EST this afternoon, compared to the same time on the Friday after Thanksgiving last year.

The survey monitors some 500 major U.S. Online retailers, and the 20 percent is in line with the 20 percent year-over-year increase IBM was reporting mid-day yesterday.  However, apparently lots of folks are holding out until they’ve allowed the turkey trytophan to kick in and the evening football games to start, because full-day online Thanksgiving sales ended 39 percent up over the holiday last year and they soared Thursday evening.

Mobile devices also played a much bigger role in online shopping this year, according to the benchmark.  Shoppers are making 9.73 percent of their purchases from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, about the same as Thanksgiving day. And, as much as 17.37 percent of traffic to e-retail sites is coming from mobile devices, higher than even the 15.2 recorded yesterday.

Following are some other key highlights from this afternoon’s report (again, as of 3 P.M. EST):

  • Consumer spending increased: Online sales were up a healthy 15.9 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $170.19 to $190.80 for an increase of 12.1 percent.
  • Luxury goods are making a comeback. Jewelry retailers reported a 17.6 percent increase in sales.
  • Social shopping. Consumers appear increasingly savvy about their favorite brands’ social presence, and are turning to their social networking friends for information about deals and inventory levels. 
    • Though the percentage of visitors arriving from social sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors — nearly 1 percent — it’s gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Surgical shopping. Consumers know what they want and where to get it. People are viewing 18.0 percent fewer products on sites than they did last year, suggesting they are shopping with a specific item in mind and quickly moving up. (My kind of shopping! Surgical strike, indeed!)
  • Mobile shopping. Consumers are embracing mobile as a shopping tool, with 5.6 percent of people logged onto a retailer’s site using a mobile device on Black Friday (a jump of 26.7 percent compared to last Friday!)

The report also provided some color commentary on the types of retail categories and products that are especially sought this year:

  • Department stores.  They’ve become the research engine of choice for consumers looking for Black Friday deals and product promotions. As a consequence, shoppers are spending 17.7 percent more time year over year on department store sites.
  • Health and Beauty. A reported rise of 73.1 percent in the number of new consumers completing their first purchase on their sites and a 53.4 percent jump in the number of visits in which consumers completed an order.
  • In-Store Sales for Consumer Electronics and Appliances. These are expected to increase 3.5 percent this year compared to last, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November, according to an analytics-based forecast from IBM’s Global Business Services division.

U.S. consumers have been increasing their savings relative to disposable income, from 2 percent in 2007 to nearly 6 percent today, which has led to strong pent-up demand for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in today’s economy.

Stay tuned here on the Turbo blog for other upcoming reports on the holiday season’s retail tidings.  It’s still Black Friday, we still have the weekend, and Cyber Monday is a full three days away!

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