Judging from the metrics of this year's Cyber Monday sales on Nov. 30, it appears that buyers acquired more goods and spent more money -- yet they used less bandwidth to do it.
Bustling online sales, especially late in the day, sparked Cyber Monday revenues to break through the $3 billion mark for the first time, a record for a single day of online sales that beat industry analysts' projections.
Adobe's Digital Index reported Dec. 1 that total online sales for Cyber Monday increased to $3.07 billion -- 16 percent over last year's total. The company had predicted the Monday following Black Friday, which has long been the busiest online sales day of the year, would improve by 12 percent to $3 billion.
But all that online ordering and paying used up much less bandwidth than in the past, indicating that systems may be faster and more efficient than in the past.
Verizon's Retail Index reported that broadband data usage attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on Cyber Monday dipped dramatically from the Sunday Index (Verizon charted this as 121 on Sunday versus 97 on Cyber Monday) and was actually 3 percentage points below average daily volumes -- a similar trend to last year.
Even more intriguing was that mobile traffic attributed to online shopping was also down on Cyber Monday and was 1 percentage point below average daily traffic volumes, Verizon reported.
It is possible that Cyber Monday is simply morphing more and more into regular online buying habits of increasingly Internet-savvy consumers.
Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions said in a media advisory that she believes Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate Cyber Monday is not what it once was.
"Following a flurry of online shopping activity over the weekend when consumers had more time to shop, Cyber Monday appears to have been emblematic of a more typical Monday," Dupré said. "From here on out, retailers will need to be very creative in coming up with special offers that will spark consumer attention and then convert that interest into sales."
Consumers are now online daily as a matter of course and are being consistently bombarded by promotional offers from retailers that began in early November, Dupré wrote.
"The challenge for retailers in the coming weeks will be to really understand and engage with their customer base and not be complacent with their promotional offers as they race to get rid of seasonal inventory and capture market share," Dupré said.