Thanks in part to sales via tablets and mobile phones, Monday may have been the biggest Cyber Monday ever. Figures from several analytics firms show a dramatic jump in online sales from Cyber Monday 2012. IBM, which tracks online holiday retail sales each year, reported Tuesday that Cyber Monday 2013 online retail sales set a new record, growing by 20.6 percent from 2012, with mobile sales that day jumping 55 percent over last year and accounting for more than 17 percent of total online sales.
Likewise, Adobe, which provides analytics software to many top U.S. retailers, reports a 16 percent jump in Cyber Monday sales from 2012, with 80 percent growth in sales made via mobile devices from 2012. Using its data, the company estimates shoppers spent $2.29 billion on Cyber Monday.
E-commerce tracking firm ChannelAdvisor measured a 44.3 percent jump in Amazon's Cyber Monday sales over 2012 as of 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, and a jump of 32.1 percent in eBay sales over last year. Brick-and-mortar retailers also may see similarly big growth. Though it hasn't reported official numbers yet, Wal-Mart has said this was a very good year for online shopping.
"There's no way ... that it won't finish as our biggest Cyber Monday ever," Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson told USA Today.
Likewise, both online traffic and sales for Target "continued to be strong," said Eddie Baeb, a company spokesman. However, he said the company saw its biggest online shopping day ever not on Cyber Monday but on Thanksgiving Day. Baeb also reports that mobile shopping is driving sales growth, accounting for "well over 50 percent" of Target's online traffic over the Black Friday weekend.
The jump in online sales is in part due to changes in how consumers shop, as they compare prices both from home and as they wander the aisles of brick-and-mortar stores, and is also a product of strong promotions from online retailers, says Jay Henderson, strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce.
However, he also notes that online retailers have enhanced their technological strategies for making sure people buy online. For example, IBM found the shopping cart conversion rate – the share of things people put in their online shopping carts that they end up actually buying – grew by 12.6 percent from 2012. Many retailers track customers that put things in their carts and then navigate away from the site, he says.
"Retailers did quite a bit of retargeting," Henderson says. "They oftentimes will retarget them with email promotions, trying to incent them a little bit more."
Retailers also were more likely to make sales via tablets than through people's phones. While 19.7 percent of Cyber Monday shopping traffic came from smartphones, compared to 11.5 percent for tablets, smartphones accounted for only 5.5 percent of sales, compared to 11.7 percent for tablets.
The brand of device also mattered. Devices running iOS – iPhones and iPads, in other words – spent $120.29 per order, compared to $106.70 per order from Android devices, according to IBM data. Henderson says this is no coincidence.
"It's driven by the demographics of people who are likely to own Apple devices," he says. "They tend to be a little more affluent."
And while people may have shopped from their desks at work on Monday, the data indicate many shoppers waited to go home before buying. According to Adobe, the biggest shopping hour was 8-9 p.m. Eastern, with $150 million in sales in that hour.