Cyber Monday tipped to break US ecommerce sales record
The average online order value on Black Friday rose almost 6% from last year to $168, Adobe said
Shoppers pass in front of a Gap store displaying Black Friday sale signs at the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall on Black Friday in New Jersey on November 29th. Photograph: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg
Cyber Monday is shaping up to be the biggest day ever for US ecommerce sales after fewer shoppers visited bricks and mortar stores on Black Friday, according to initial data that highlight Amazon’s continued disruption of retail.
Visitor numbers across the US retail sector on Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined dipped 3 per cent from last year, according to analytics company ShopperTrak.
The findings were echoed by RetailNext, which uses a different methodology. It recorded a 2.1 per cent drop in traffic and a 1.6 per cent decline in in-store sales on Black Friday.
In contrast, Adobe Analytics found that online sales were setting new records. Internet shoppers were projected to splash out $9.4 billion (€? billion) on Monday, about 19 per cent more than last year, having spent $7.4 billion on Black Friday.
The combined amount will still fall well short of last month’s Single’s Day, where Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba raked in more than $38 billion of online sales.
Amazon emerged as a big winner from the US online boom as separate figures released over the weekend by Edison Trends showed its Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales jumped 49 per cent from last year.
Click and collect
Yet the figures showed better-performing store chains are finding some success in taking on Amazon, by far the biggest internet retailer, by integrating their online and physical presence. Adobe recorded a 43 per cent year-on-year rise in online orders for goods that customers planned to pick up from stores.
Greg Maloney, chief executive of JLL’s Americas retail business, said some US retailers were doing “extremely well” and that traffic and sales were declining at those companies that “haven’t embraced the changes”.
Black Friday store checks in Minnesota, Ohio and New York by retail analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets found footfall had been strong at Walmart and Target, as well as the fashionable athletic clothing brand Lululemon.
But they found that traffic was “somewhat muted” at shopping malls, even though several retailers, including Gap, Banana Republic and Express, were offering discounts of up to 50 per cent.
Falling footfall during the peak shopping season will raise concerns that weaker mall-based and department store chains will be forced to cut more stores and jobs in the new year.
US retailers have announced 9,270 store closures so far in 2019, including Gap, Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree, according to Coresight Research. That is more than double the number of openings and follows 5,840 closures last year.
Brian Field, senior director at ShopperTrak, said consumers who visited stores were becoming more “intentional” about making purchases, rather than browsing.
RetailNext noted that the “conversion rate” - the proportion of store visitors who make purchases - was higher on Black Friday than last year.
In another threat to bricks and mortar, internet shoppers are becoming more comfortable buying more expensive items on computers and on phones. The average online order value on Black Friday rose almost 6 per cent from last year to $168, Adobe said.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019