Cyber Monday shoppers are increasingly turning to smartphones and social networking to finish their online holiday shopping, according to reports.
The online retail sector is showing robust growth during one of the year's
most crucial shopping periods, according to new reports. That not only bodes
well for retailers' bottom lines during the holiday season, but also suggests
the same tools that are changing the face of the Web-including smartphones and
social-networking sites-are affecting customers' shopping habits.
term "Cyber Monday" began in 2005
as a marketing buzzword
engineered to suggest that consumers-after the hubbub of Thanksgiving and Black
Friday-used the following Monday to click-and-purchase for their holiday gift
list while at work. Indeed, online sales have traditionally risen on that date.
However, as indicated by some recent surveys, the increasing ubiquity of
online shopping-and some of the deals that come with it-has led a substantial
subset of shoppers to begin their Cyber Monday shopping even before they set
the house on fire attempting to deep-fry that unthawed Thanksgiving turkey.
"Online retail leveraged its 24/7 sales opportunity by turning
Thanksgiving into a shopping day and forcing brick-and-mortar stores to respond
by opening their doors," Stephen Baker, the NPD Group's vice president of
industry analysis, wrote
in a Nov. 29 posting on the research firm's blog
. "Cyber Monday became
Cyber Weekend with sales promotions starting on Thanksgiving and running
through the holiday weekend and beyond."
Despite the continued weakness of an economy still recovering from a global
recession, online sales managed to peacefully co-exist with their
"A preliminary read of the results clearly shows that online sales did
not eat into brick-and-mortar sales but were actually incremental, or at least
the traffic was incremental," Baker said. "According to NPD's Anatomy
of Black Friday, while the share of shoppers for brick-and-mortar increased by
about 6 percent, online shoppers' share grew by 44 percent."
According to analytics-based findings from IBM,
Black Friday online sales enjoyed a year-over-year increase of 15.9 percent.
Mobile devices became a more prominent shopping channel, used by 5.6 percent of
customers to access a retailer's Website-an increase of 26.7 percent over Black
"We're watching online retail, and increasingly social media and
mobile, become the growth engines for retailers everywhere," John Squire,
chief strategy officer for IBM Coremetrics,
wrote in a Nov. 27 release posted on IBM's corporate
. "Consumers embrace online shopping not only for its ease and
convenience, but as a primary means of researching goods and services."
IBM's accompanying research note claims
that, in addition to mobile, social-networking Websites such as Facebook and
Twitter have come into play as sales channels: "While the percentage of
[retail Website] visitors arriving from social network sites is fairly small
relative to all online visitors-nearly 1 percent-it is gaining momentum, with
Facebook dominating the space."
Other sources differed on estimates of shoppers' Cyber Monday smartphone
"While the majority of Cyber Monday shoppers will shop from their home
computer (89.5 percent, or 96 million people), a growing number of people this
year say they will
on Cyber Monday," stated
a Nov. 28 note from the National Retail Federation
. "More than 7
million people (6.9 percent) will use a mobile device for Cyber Monday
shopping, nearly double the estimated 4 million who shopped that way last year
In any case, retailers hope all that pointing-and-clicking-or
tapping-and-pinching-will help propel overall sales.