Cyber Monday set to be biggest online shopping day in U.S. history

Aishwarya Venugopal and Melissa Fares, Reuters

Posted at Dec 01 2020 09:13 AM

UPS employee Liz Perez scans packages for delivery in Miami, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Amazon Prime Day was launched July 16 and and will be six hours longer than last year's and will launch new products. Lynne Sladky, AP Photo

NEW YORK/BENGALURU - Cyber Monday was set to garner up to $12.7 billion in online sales, according to industry estimates, surpassing Black Friday's digital numbers as U.S. retailers enter the last lap of an extended holiday selling season.

Retailers have given shoppers nearly two months of offers since Amazon.com held its Prime Day in October, as they sought to be competitive and recoup the sales lost in this year's coronavirus-driven closures of malls and other stores.

Latest estimates from Adobe Analytics showed this year's conclusion to Thanksgiving weekend promotions would, however, still be the largest online sales day in history, with spending between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion.

"While I anticipate another year of discount chicken — where consumers hold out for deeper and deeper discounts throughout the season ... Cyber Monday should (still) offer a great opportunity to make a big dent in holiday shopping," said Rob Garf, VP of strategy and insights at Salesforce.

Traditionally, Cyber Monday starts with people, fresh after a long weekend, scouring for discounts online at work and driving another big day of promotions.

However, the popularity of event shopping days has faded with the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals throughout the year from retailers including Amazon and Walmart Inc, with the health crisis this year also playing with shopping patterns.

"I did a lot of my shopping even before Black Friday... I feel I've gotten mostly everything," said Caroline McCormick, 33.

The Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, sales engineer said she's been receiving "early access" Black Friday emails for several weeks now, prompting her to buy hiking boots on Columbia Sportswear's website for her mother, socks on Kohl's Corp's website and more.

Today, when she was pitched more deals for Cyber Monday, "nothing popped out that made me think 'I need to get that right now.'"

The tentpole shopping event of Black Friday, which pulled in record online sales of about $9 billion, according to Adobe, saw shoppers turning up in smaller numbers at stores as they utilized the early deals and avoided stepping out into large crowds. 

This year's Cyber Monday saw not just online sellers such as Amazon offer steep discounts for its own brands, including Fire TV stick, Echo devices, and other electronics like PlayStations and roombas, but also brick-and-mortar stores such as Lululemon Athletica and Best Buy provide online deals.

"I go online a little bit and look around and do some comparison shopping, but Amazon pretty much beats everything," said Bill Hon, 49, a cook living in Crawfordsville, Indiana, who started his holiday shopping during Amazon's Prime Day event.

Apple also held a four-day event on its website ending on Monday, offering gift cards of up to $150 on purchase of certain products.

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