…Friday that is. Fashionistas and Frugal Freddies alike hit the keyboards in record numbers this Cyber Monday. According to comScore, the four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday saw spending online up 13%. Black Friday, a day traditionally reserved for lamenting that extra helping of stuffing and hitting the mall saw a 1% increase in online sales year over year. The National Retail Federation reports that during this year’s Black Friday weekend 34% of consumers did their holiday shopping online.
This year’s Monday after Thanksgiving saw 2 million more consumers shopping online than Cyber Monday 2007, a 22% increase according to comScore. Consumers surfed, saw and shopped their way through the many discounts offered across the web representing a whopping 15% increase in spend over last year, the second heaviest online spending day ever! (comScore) In addition, we looked at a sample of advertisers in various retail verticals and compared the ad clicks they received during Thanksgiving week (Tuesday-Monday) for 2007 and 2008. We saw increases in several retail categories, such as Department Stores (39%), Books & Magazines (28%), Comparison shopping (25%) and Sports & Fitness (24%). Even categories like Apparel (9%) and Home Furnishings (14%) were up. (Note: this is a sample of retailers only and should not be viewed as indicative of our financial performance during this period.)
If the Retail Pundits are right, the online holiday shop-a-thon will continue well into the Holiday Season. According to Forrester, 27% of US online consumers expect to spend more online this holiday season, with 47% expecting to spend about the same. Those making over $100k plan to increase their online spending this year by 15% with those in the mid to low income brackets upping their online spend by about 3%. (Forrester, Outlook For US Online Holiday Sales, 10/22/08)
Consumers will likely continue to shift their holiday gift buying online this season. Gas prices, free shipping and discounts are all contributing to this migration. Nielsen reports that convenience tops the list of reasons people choose to shop online. Seventy-six percent of consumers cited ability to shop 24 hours a day and 74% cited time-savings as reasons to click their way through the holidays. Not surprising, 53% of shoppers this year (compared to 46% in 2007) cited price as a reason to buy online.
Post-Thanksgiving not only are consumer’s pants tighter, but so are their budgets. It seems like everyone is looking for a deal; this Thanksgiving searches for terms with Black Friday and Cyber Monday were up like the calorie count (Figure 1). Searches for keywords like ‘coupons’ jumped from 30% of the most popular search term in November to 60% in December (Figure 2). Retailers did not disappoint coming out strong with record discounts and sales online. Also increasing in these first couple of days of December were searches for keywords like ‘gift ideas’ and ‘christmas’.
With 5 fewer days between Turkey Day and Christmas, what can retailers do to keep the Thanksgiving Gravy Train chugging along? Like Aunt Petunia’s Pumpkin Pie, keep it coming. Don’t cap your search budgets; if consumers are looking for you, make sure you can be found. Green Monday (12/8) and the Christmas shipping deadlines are fast approaching so communicate these important dates to your customers in your advertisements. Those days will have heavy traffic, so be prepared. Use the Google content network to attract consumers when they are interested. If you have videos, put them up on YouTube (and don’t forget to promote them). Whether your consumers are channeling Carrie Bradshaw or George Costanza, make sure your messages are hitting them when and where they choose to shop.