by Robin Fiedler

Both Black Friday's and Cyber Monday's spending trend this year beat or met historical sales, and sales overall weren't too shabby. So what do the sales indicate so far about the rest of the holiday shopping season? Some say the biggest discounts and online sales are yet to come on Green Monday.

Retailers are content that Black Friday numbers were slightly higher than last year for brick and mortar sales. Black Friday weekend (Fri.-Sun.) sales totaled 20.5 billion dollars. "ShopperTrak's data showed Black Friday began the season with a large spend as retail sales totaled $10.66 billion, equaling just a 0.5 percent increase over Black Friday 2008 but representing the largest dollar amount ever spent on the day." The Saturday after had a "0.9 percent rise over last year with $6.107 billion spent" while Sunday "increased a seemingly impressive 5.2 percent ($3.73 billion)." holiday-sale

Online retailers experienced the strongest Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday 2009 raked in $887 million in sales according to comScore, for a 5% increase over 2008. Even though comScore reports Black Friday online sales had the highest percentage increase of 11%, Cyber Monday's total dollar sales of $887 million matched the record set for highest online sales in one day previously set on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008,  which leaves expectations hopeful for even higher online sales this Monday Dec.7, dubbed "Green Monday."

This year's online sales increase is attributed to more buyers online, not more money spent per shopper. According to comScore, in 2008, 8.2 million made purchases compared to 8.7 million on 2009 Cyber Monday. Individual buyers actually spent 1% less than in 2008, decreasing from $103.72 in 2008 to $102.19 in 2009.

Even though more consumers are shopping online, they are shopping with purpose. Coremetrics' online numbers, which tracked shopping behavior on Black Friday, indicate that our shopping mission is goal-oriented. Coremetrics cites three indicators:

  • "Browsing sessions were down by 5.4 percent
  • The number of people who left a site after viewing only one page was up by 39.4 percent
  • Page views per session declined by 30.4 percent"

Shoppers aren't browsing as much, sending the message to e-tailers that buyers have done their research on specific deals and are sticking to a wish list. Even though inventories are low this year, consumers seem to have a discriminating buying pattern. "Give me deep discounts, or give me nothing."

After analyzing the Black Friday numbers, Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, predicts, "we anticipate slimmer inventories and prolonged sales and promotions will boost December spending, which should provide the slight 1.6 percent retail sales increase we forecasted for the holiday season."

Which days can we count on for the best deals? Expect retailers to send out a second wave of ads for the weekend Dec. 4-6, but as well, e-tailers are looking to Mon-Tues. Dec. 7-8 to top Cyber Monday 2009's sales. Volusion, an e-commerce community website and blog, says its holiday shopping prediction for the biggest online shopping day in dollars for 2009 is Tuesday, Dec. 8, not Monday, Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Green Monday marked the highest day for online sales in 2008 because consumers may have felt the deadline crunch for delivery of orders before Christmas, so warm up the mouse and keyboard and get ready for the deals. It could be a 1-billion-dollar day of deals!

Sources

"Black Friday Weekend Sales Rise 1.6 Percent as Compared to 2008." ShopperTrak. 2 Dec. 2009.

"Coremetrics Benchmark Reports: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2009." Coremetrics.

"Cyber Monday Online Sales Up 5 Percent vs. Year Ago to $887 Million to Match Heaviest Online Spending Day in History." comScore 2 Dec. 2009.

"Volusion's Much Anticipated 2009 Holiday Shopping Prediction." Volusion. 15 Oct.

COUPON TIME

Maybe we need a new title for our Cyber Monday Sale section, since many of those coupons are still working and will be fabulous for extra savings on Green Monday!