Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?

Discussion
Source: Amazon
Nov 27, 2018
George Anderson

Cyber Monday records are made to be broken and that’s what happened yesterday. Amazon.com announced that it enjoyed the single biggest shopping day in its history with more products ordered worldwide than ever before.

Amazon’s Cyber Monday performance marks a continued strong start to the holiday season for the e-tail giant, which reported record sales for “Turkey 5,” the five sales days that start with Thanksgiving and end with Cyber Monday.    

To be sure, Amazon wasn’t the only retailer enjoying brisk Cyber Monday sales as the day represented the single largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., according to Adobe. Total online sales hit $7.9 billion for the day with growth seen in mobile sales and orders picked up in stores.

Revenues from online purchases made using smartphones hit $2.1 billion yesterday, up 48.1 percent over Cyber Monday 2017. Smartphones represented 51.4 percent of all site visits and the combined traffic of phones and tablets marked the first Cyber Monday when more than half of all site visits came from mobile devices.

Adobe has also reported a large uptick in consumers buying gifts online and picking them up in stores. Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) transactions grew 50 percent over the Black Friday weekend with retailers that operate their own stores driving a 28 percent higher conversion rate.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Cyber Monday become more important to the overall top and bottom line results for retailers during the holiday selling season? How do you see the growth in sales being placed via smartphone along with orders being picked up in stores playing out over the rest of the holiday season?

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"Cyber Monday this year is definitely showing the shift in buying patterns. "
"...digging deeper, this is about convenience as much as price. The joy of holiday shopping is not what it used to be..."
"Am I the only one that thinks the idea of “Cyber Monday” is antiquated? I mean, shopping at work or when all the kids are gone … really?"

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23 Comments on "Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Cyber Monday has indeed become an important sales day for retailers. While the online sales growth trend continues, the growth in mobile is especially important. Retailers who ignore the importance of mobile – e.g. by not having mobile optimized sites – do so at their own peril. The increase in BOPIS is also noteworthy if not surprising. For many retailers, BOPIS procedures still need to be refined and optimized, but it’s clear that consumers are demanding this service.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

As a more recent introduction to the retail scene, Cyber Monday gets bigger every year – so record sales are hardly surprising. While we give the days fancy names they are now just part of a big promotional period that lasts from just before Thanksgiving well into the week after. The sales numbers do look impressive, but the impact on margins and the bottom line will likely be less rosy.

As for smartphone use, compared to the Thanksgiving holiday, I guess that a lot more people are back at work and on the move on Monday, so using their own devices to shop while at work, etc. makes sense.

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

Cyber Monday has grown year over year and will continue to do so, especially looking at the its $600 million origin just 12 years ago. Uniquely, the iPhone first launched in 2007, with wireless carriers frantically responding to be able to handle the data needs of the device, and the overall smartphone boom. Mobile is a massive factor, but this overall trend has many growth factors (rural community cellular data and wireless speed, Amazon Prime and logistics, rural shopping center erosion) etc.

Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

The real story here is the growth in BOPIS and m-commerce. BOPIS transactions grew 50 percent over BFCM weekend. This is amazing! Cyber Monday this year is definitely showing the shift in buying patterns. What is concerning is that only 27.5 percent of U.S. retailers have BOPIS working right now … and 8.9 percent providing mobile optimized m-commerce services (source: Omni-2000 Research). Definitely room for growth.

M-commerce is very convenient. Shoppers are still going to do their research online/via tablet — but they might wait and watch for the sales to start, then order their items on m-commerce. It will be interesting to watch over the rest of the shopping season.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

As noted in the article, Cyber Monday is the culmination of this holiday weekend shopping spree. While Cyber Monday broke all records, the rest of the weekend surpassed all previous sales levels as well. I think the process of shifting retail sales from more traditional shopping periods, e.g., Christmas shopping, will continue. Remember the very successful Christmas in July sales this past summer.

Sales via smartphones will continue to grow as the cell phone continues to replace computers and land lines as the preferred way of shopping (and most other tasks). Likewise BOPIS will become more relevant as a mode of collecting products. BOPIS gives retailers the opportunity to encourage shoppers to visit the store during a related pickup of online orders. If done correctly, retailers could gain incremental sales of often high-margin merchandise.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

The growth in mobile usage and online sales obviously go hand-in-hand. To see 50 percent growth year over year for shopping via smartphones 11 years after smartphones were released says to me we’ve hit a tipping point. Perhaps the overall season won’t stay at 50 percent for smartphones but regardless of where it plays out, this is a huge number. The same goes for BOPIS, which is far “younger” that smartphone shopping. If executed properly, it’s a complete win-win for the consumer and retailer. This will only grow

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

I have to wonder if the bottom line of Cyber Monday is as good as the top line. The profitability of the event is what counts. (“We lose a penny on every unit we sell, but we make it up in volume…”)

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

The idea of waiting until Monday to shop because there’s no computer at home is out of date by about twenty years. Everyone loves a gimmick (look at Singles Day) but don’t we care about margins too?

Phil Masiello
BrainTrust

Cyber Monday indicates the health of the holiday shopping season for online retailers. So it is important to the retailers in the same way that Black Friday is an indicator of how brick-and-mortar will perform over the holiday shopping season.

Smartphones will continue to grow share of orders. It allows customers to buy with immediacy when they see or think of something that they need or want. Apps tend to make this process fast and seamless. Smartphone apps can also drive retention and loyalty to a certain extent. Retailers need to embrace a “mobile first” world to succeed in the not-very-distant future.

Liz Adamson
BrainTrust

As online shopping continues to be more and more convenient we will continue to see Cyber Monday increase in sales and play a big part in holiday shopping. To get their piece of the pie, retailers will need to ensure they are optimizing their sites, especially for mobile, offer compelling promotions and offer either free shipping or pickup in-store. It has to be an easy, seamless experience for customers. I also see Amazon continuing to use their annual Prime day to continue to increase Prime membership and pull those customers back in for their holiday shopping, including what Amazon called the Turkey 5.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Cyber Monday is just a piece of the overall holiday season buying timeframe. Retailers have trained buyers to buy at this time to take advantage of discounting. The whole timeframe — usually Nov. 1st through Jan. 1 has become critical and based on NRF 2017 numbers ranges from 15 percent to 30 percent of annual take rates for any retail sub-vertical, esp. jewelry or sporting goods. Clearly omnichannel and mobile are key capabilities that are proving their worth — but most retailers already know about these. The coming few weeks will frame a clearer picture on the real impact. People buying through their phones and picking up orders further reinforces the importance of digital as a retail play, not a digital customer segment. Well-equipped retailers will use this growth in omnichannel and the cloud to capture market share.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

I’m a big fan of reading the tea leaves on questions like this. Yes, it will continue to grow in importance. But digging deeper, this is about convenience as much as price. The joy of holiday shopping is not what it used to be, and there’s a general notion of “find it, get it, get out” due to parking challenges, long lines, wayfinding, out-of-stocks and often grumpy associates. It’s a wide general statement but its often true—in most cases — not much of the experience is magical. So people are finding a way to make it easier on themselves.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Black Friday was certainly a notable shopping event and the day that retailers are traditionally positioned to move from the red to the black. However, Cyber Monday is a recent phenomenon. Cyber Monday was fueled not only by outstanding deals and flexible fulfillment options but the overall online experience. This absolutely speaks to how well retailers have optimized the mobile shopping experience with enhanced content, removing friction, and offering more payment options. While worldwide mobile conversion rates are around 2 percent and over 4 percent for laptops etc., we should expect some increases over the next few months.

We should expect the momentum to continue throughout the holiday shopping seasons. Retailers have responded, and their more curated experiential-focused stores will draw plenty of traffic in the stores and digital channels. Additionally, the omnichannel BOPIS offering is a key differentiator to draw customers to your stores, where the real retail magic begins.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

The industry created it, and now it has to live with it. Personally, I think I’d prefer to see it wind down a little, but that will take time. Customers expect it, and now everyone has to participate. Note that consumers are becoming aware that most Black Friday weekend prices are not all that.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

To no one’s surprise, Cyber Monday broke records again! We should all expect these numbers to only go up as more and more consumers leverage the convenience factors that are showing the most growth – mobile and BOPIS. First, we saw evidence that Black Friday shopping was showing lower foot traffic in-store, but, what was the value in sales of that foot traffic? Likewise for Cyber Monday, if the in-store traffic was coming from BOPIS sales through m-commerce, then there should be an improvement in the top line for all of these retailers – bottom line growth is more dependant on how heavy-handed the discounts were. The proof is quite evident now – the more convenient you make it to shop through mobile and provide services like BOPIS, the more shoppers will buy from you!

Jennifer McDermott
BrainTrust

Cyber Monday is certainly growing in importance, as these numbers show. It’s no surprise that a declining number of shoppers want to battle the crowds on Black Friday when there are just as good deals to be had from the comfort of their home a few days later.

This season will definitely see records cracked for smartphone spending, thanks to growing trust and confidence among consumers and a greater investment from retailers in mobile shopping apps. While experts predict smartphone shopping will account for half of seasonal sales, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s even higher.

Joel Rubinson
BrainTrust

It’s not about Cyber Monday. It’s about the growth of online…shopping, buying…advertising. And Amazon is 10X bigger than anyone else online but others are making good strides. Basically, it’s as simple as this — to win the future, you must win in digital.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the next “discount day” yet to be launched, shoppers are very well trained to await those triggers to purchase. The more retailers promote these days, the more shoppers will shift their buying to those days, rather than simply spreading out their purchases over the entire holiday season. I don’t think the total purchases vary all that much if you concentrate the shopping on a couple days, versus over the whole season.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Something has to be addressed here: Yes, retailers take a hit on margin on Cyber Monday and Black Friday pandemonium shopping, but the important thing is that high turn rates will be profitable on those margin cut items. It always has been. So the wave of transactions done, along with lessons learned each year during these promotional periods, will serve to make more intense and better retail strategies for the coming years. It’s all going to keep growing. One thing I noticed on Black Friday was shopper agitation in some stores with BOPIS. In one mega-retailer’s store, I heard customers complaining of longer than expected waits, and fighting the mobs of customers to find and get to the pick-up point. I think major retailers are going to have to figure that out to make the experience easier and efficient for customers. A customer who is agitated after fighting and waiting here is less likely to think about hanging around any longer. Not good.

Mike Osorio
BrainTrust

These named shopping “holidays” are increasingly important to top-line sales as consumers get more and more in tune with them. The bottom line is also likely protected for the most part by category managers negotiating maintained margin from their suppliers.

The mobile portion is notable and a good sign that a material percentage of Americans are finally realizing that when out and about, or at their jobs, mobile provides an easy way to monitor online sales and shop with ease. Woe to any retailer who lacks a robust mobile site at this point.

It’s interesting to note that despite this being a record-breaking Cyber Monday, the 7.9 billion was dwarfed by China’s 11:11 event at over 30 billion, with a huge percentage of sales happening on mobile devices. The West has a long way to go ….

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Am I the only one that thinks the idea of “Cyber Monday” is antiquated? I mean, shopping at work or when all the kids are gone … really? Those numbers are discount driven on an ancient theory, IMO. Consumers are now more than infamous for shopping online any time, anywhere, any outfit, right? “Turkey 5” is more like it. What’s to stop anyone from shopping online the entire week? Waiting to get to work? I doubt it. Discounts driven by ’90s thinking? I guess so. Give the discounts on Sunday please so I don’t have to get out of my PJs. Thanks, Jeff.

Made sense in 1998, but seems like something that should go in the “that is so ’90s” trash can. Along with the term “Cyber,” btw.

John Ghiorso
Guest

This summer there were discussions within the industry about whether Prime Day would take away sales from Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This doesn’t seem to be the case and it could be argued that Prime Day actually encourages shoppers to return to Amazon during the Turkey 5 for their holiday shopping.

The growth in sales being placed via smartphones is a continued trend that was to be expected. The implication of m-commerce is that shoppers demand more convenience. This means marketplaces become more relevant as shoppers look for a centralized place to compare prices, check reviews, purchase products through a single simplified shopping cart.

Min-Jee Hwang
BrainTrust

The past few years have shown that online sales are growing, even if the majority of sales happen in-store. This data is another indicator of that trend continuing, and all signs point to the share of online sales increasing in the future. Smartphone purchases, BOPIS, and the like should all continue to grow as well as retailers are doing a better job of combining their online and in-store channels.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Cyber Monday this year is definitely showing the shift in buying patterns. "
"...digging deeper, this is about convenience as much as price. The joy of holiday shopping is not what it used to be..."
"Am I the only one that thinks the idea of “Cyber Monday” is antiquated? I mean, shopping at work or when all the kids are gone … really?"

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