IBM’s Holiday Sales Report Shows the Rise of Thanksgiving Day Shopping

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IBM’s Holiday Sales Report Shows the Rise of Thanksgiving Day Shopping

IBM's holiday shopping report shows a lot of people are spending some of their Thanksgiving Day gift buying online or at stores to get a jump on Black Friday.

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Pre-Holiday Shopping Soared

Pre-holiday shopping was up nearly 10 percent year over year compared to 2015, according to IBM’s data. The period is determined by tabulating how much people around the globe spent on gifts and other products for the holidays just ahead of Thanksgiving and the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Holiday Weekend Sales Soared

Over the five-day period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, global online sales rose 9 percent year over year. Over the four-day period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, sales were up 19.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

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Thanksgiving was for Eating and Shopping

Although Thanksgiving Day traditionally has been viewed as the day before people start shopping, things are changing, IBM says. Thanksgiving Day online sales in the United States were up 12 percent compared to 2015. Worldwide, online sales rose 24 percent year over year, as Thanksgiving Day shopping became “a global sensation.”

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Black Friday Remains an Important Day

Black Friday might be one of the most popular shopping days of the year, and consumers are still spending cash. Online sales at retailers around the world were up 28 percent year over year. At U.S. retailers, Black Friday online sales rose 9.3 percent compared to 2015.

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Cyber Monday Was a Huge Day

Cyber Monday is officially a “worldwide shopping event,” according to IBM. The company reported that Cyber Monday global online sales rose by 16.7 percent year over year. The data suggests customers worldwide—not just in the United States—are spending big money online on Cyber Monday.

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IBM Clients Sent a Record Number of Emails

IBM says its retail clients combined to send nearly 500 million email notifications to consumers on Cyber Monday. The notifications, which can include confirmation of a purchase, for instance, hit an all-time high on Cyber Monday, according to IBM.

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Mobile Is Proving Important

Mobile continues to play an integral role in the shopping experience during the holiday season. IBM says its retail clients’ use of mobile devices to target customers is soaring, up more than 47 percent year over year on Cyber Monday. That figure includes all mobile push notifications sent to consumers on Cyber Monday.

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IBM Projects Overall Online Sales

IBM hasn’t yet put a dollar amount on how much the company expects consumers to spend during the holiday season spanning November and December. However, the company believes that overall online sales will increase by as much as 14 percent compared to the 2015 holiday shopping season.

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Understanding IBM’s Commerce Scale

IBM has become a juggernaut in the commerce industry. According to the company’s latest data, which it shared with the Cyber Monday information, the company is now working with more than 17,000 companies operating in some way in the retail sector, including seven of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies. Its solutions span cloud and on-premises implementations.

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A Few Real-World Examples

In addition to macro figures, IBM shared some individual data points. The company reported that one unidentified U.S. “retail giant” received more than 2 million orders on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday alone. Another unidentified U.S. retailer generated more than 260TB of data during the holiday shopping season. Yet another unidentified company operating in the home building and supply retail industry saw sales increase 44 percent during its peak period during the holiday shopping season.

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