Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Path from Black Friday to Cyber Monday

How did the weekend stack up?

A collection of factoids, stats, benchmarks and insights on the recent shopping weekend - estimated at around $59 billion or 10% of the holiday retail season. 

First, it is probably incorrect to classify it as discrete day or two - it is becoming a season which ebbs and flows as people transition from one mode to another.  That said, it does make for good theatre to debate and illustrate the differences.   Here are some comparisons between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Sales and traffic were up with a record 227 million people shopping and spending more.  Here's what we learned:
    • The large gain may simply have been a case of time shifting.  Time will tell whether we robbed Peter to pay Paul.
    • Consumer confidence suggests that the 'fiscal cliff' may be a speed bump; if Washington can get their act together.
    • Holidays aren't sacred and online isn't a stigma.  Turkey-day sales were up 32% as people shopped in the evening before (or while) moving online.  Black Friday topped $1 billion in online sales for the first time.
  • Mobile accounted for a larger share of online sales on Black Friday than it did on Cyber Monday, (16.3% vs. 12.9%).  Guess showrooming is real when out and about and the desktop is better when sedentary at work.  (Other good information there.)
  • The tablet, and by that I mean iPad, established itself as a unique shopping venue - at least at Mall of America.  Sales of iPad - 11 per hour; sales of Surface 0 - per hour.  
  • Direct sales from social networks were below nascent, registering just 0.2% of sales.
  • In the middle was Small Business Saturday - which has been pegged at $5.5 billion or 10% of the weekend's retail sales.   Transactions up.
  • In an interesting look, the social graphics of followers of six retailers suggests a difference between how people think of where to go for deals and gifts.
The implications of the end of BF/CM were summed up by Chris Copeland of Group M Next.  Paraphrasing...
  1. This is a communal activity at its finest; social technology isn't at play when we're in the mood to buy.
  2. The product isn't what's in the box or on a hanger.  Ancillary features, advantages and benefits will distinguish retailers from sellers.
  3. Yield management, i.e. changing pricing patterns, will emerge as consumers have access not only to real time but historic data. 

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