What the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Numbers Mean for Your Online Store

You may have seen headlines that Black Friday – which is now essentially the collective name for the weekend of shopping encompassing Thanksgiving and the weekend beyond – is losing it’s luster. But eCommerce sellers didn’t think so. In fact, some of the bleak headlines seem to be more hyperbole than fact. Let’s break down what we know from reports so far:

The Big Picture

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that holiday weekend shopping was actually down by 11%, down to $50.9 billion from $57.4 billion last year. Some economists, though, criticize the NRF’s methodology and say that overall Black Friday numbers are essentially meaningless when it comes to the state of the economy. Thanksgiving sales, earlier sales or any number of factors could have contributed to the decrease. We won’t really know, they say, until January.

As an online seller, it’s up to you to determine whether your own store fared well over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there are good news from the pundits about sales online this holiday season.

Cyber Monday Stats, and Beyond

IBM’s Benchmark tool tracks real time sales, and their findings about the holiday weekend were promising.  IBM found online sales up 17% from last year, adding up to about $89 billion.

Breaking it down a little more, they reported that mobile accounting for 51.2% of all eCommerce browsing this year, and 28.9% of eCommerce sales.

Did you notice any sales to buyers across the pond this holiday weekend? That may be because, for the first time, European retailers are also hyping Black Friday weekend (despite that fact that they don’t have the Thanksgiving holiday to tie the date to.)

Forrester Research shared a few more interesting stats about holiday online shopping:

  • The average shopper is buying about 10% more online than he or she did in 2013
  • About 3.4 million customers bought online for the first time this year
  • Apple users accounted for 22.7% of the online sales, while Android users accounted for only 6%

What do these numbers mean for you?

Whether you believe reports that holiday consumption is down or up, there are a few takeaways to be learned from the beginning of the holiday shopping season 2014:

  • Focus on mobile. Make sure your site is mobile ready and don’t forget to make your communications – such as order confirmations and emails receipts – mobile-friendly, too.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday basket. Buyers aren’t queuing up in the long lines (or taking a shopping break at work on Cyber Monday) like they used to. Focus on the holiday season as a whole. 
  • Don’t let the numbers get you down. Even though pundits predict a slower shopping season, rely on your own sales numbers. Check your sales week by week. Are they up? Then congrats – you’ve beat the trends!