Who would have ever guessed an event made up by a couple of people at the National Retail Federation (NRF) would have become so big? But that's exactly what Cyber Monday has become — big!
According to whom you believe, online sales yesterday were up somewhere between 17.5 percent (IBM) and 19 percent (Custora) over last year. Those figures come on top of the more than 20 percent gains in 2012 compared to the same day in 2011.
Nearly 30 percent of the online traffic this year came from mobile devices, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. That figure represents a 61 percent jump over last year.
The strong Cyber Monday numbers may bring some needed momentum for retailers in the early part of the Christmas selling season following a Thanksgiving weekend, which saw plenty of customer traffic to stores and websites as consumers pursued deals, albeit at lower rings. According to NRF, sales at stores and sites dropped 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion over the weekend.
"The results thus far from an e-commerce perspective have been very strong — certainly strong relative to brick-and-mortar stores," Ron Josey, an analyst at JMP Securitie, told Bloomberg News. "This is the first holiday season where mobile is absolutely having its mark on overall retail sales, whether that's from a smartphone or a tablet. It's not going away."
Is Cyber Monday more important to retailers' Christmas selling season results than in the past?