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Cyber Monday Caps Record Five-Day 'Cyber Week' according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark

December 02, 2014

This is an update to my earlier posting about Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday online shopping as tracked in real-time by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark who was kind enough to provide periodic updates as yesterday’s transactions evolved.  And, while retail sales in general have not been as robust as forecast, online sales, particularly mobile-initiated ones continued their strong showing on Cyber Monday, which helped break records for the five-day Thanksgiving shopping timeframe.

In fact, sluggish overall sales at the moment were attributed to retailers getting a much earlier start with discounts, many stores being open on Thanksgiving itself cut physical traffic due to the extension of shopping hours, and because many people actually used visits to stores as a way to kick the tires so they could do comparative shopping online later.

The numbers please!

Without further ado, here are IBM’s numbers

Cyber Monday remained the busiest online shopping day of the holiday season.  Online sales grew 8.5 percent compared to 2013, with mobile sales up 27.6 percent year-over-year. New York City also continued its run as the top U.S. city for online shopping, retaining the top spot on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

IBM reported strong growth on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, culminating with a record five-day ‘Cyber Week’ period for online shopping.  

  • From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, overall online sales increased 12.6 percent, with mobile sales up 27.2 percent compared to the same period in 2013.  
  • iOS devices continued to lead in mobile shopping with traffic more than twice, and sales nearly four times, that of Android devices during Cyber Week.  

“For the first time mobile devices drove more than half of Thanksgiving online traffic, a trend that continued throughout Cyber Week," said Jay Henderson, Director, IBM Smarter Commerce.  “As the holiday shopping season becomes less concentrated on a single day, retailers and marketers took advantage by making it easier for consumers to find the best deals on the go, whenever and wherever they chose to shop.”  

Cyber Monday 2014 Compared to Cyber Monday 2013:

 Online Sales Grow: The Monday after Thanksgiving remained the busiest day for online shopping over the five day period.  Cyber Monday online sales grew by 8.5 percent over 2013.  Average order value was $124.21, down 3.5 percent year-over-year.  

Cyber Monday Becomes Mobile Monday: Cyber Monday mobile traffic accounted for 41.2 percent of all online traffic, up 30.1 percent over 2013.  Mobile sales were also strong, reaching 22 percent of total Cyber Monday online sales, an increase of 27.6 percent year-over-year.  

New York City Takes Top Spot for Cyber Sales: New York City again claimed the top spot for Cyber Monday sales, followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. On average, New York City shoppers spent $112.44 per order on Cyber Monday.
 Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy:  As the new digital shopping companion for many consumers, smartphones drove 28.5 percent of all Cyber Monday online traffic, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 12.5 percent of all traffic.  Yet, when it comes to mobile sales, tablets continue to win the shopping war – driving 12.9 percent of online sales compared to 9.1 percent for smartphones, a difference of 41.5 percent.  Tablet users also averaged $121.49 per order compared to $99.61 for smartphone users, a difference of 22 percent.  

iOS vs. Android:  iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Cyber Monday:

  • Average Order Value:  iOS users averaged $114.79 per order compared to $96.84 for Android users, a difference 18.5 percent.
  • Online Traffic:  iOS traffic accounted for 28.7 percent of total online traffic; more than double that of Android, which drove 12.2 percent of all online traffic.
  • Online Sales:  iOS sales accounted for 17.4 percent of total online sales, more than four times that of Android, which drove 4.4 percent of all online sales.  

Retailers Use Email to Deliver Follow-Up Deals:  Transactional messages, or emails that are automatically triggered by consumer actions like a receipt of purchase or cart abandonment, increased 48 percent year-over-year. The median number of emails sent to consumers from retailers on Cyber Monday was two, remaining the same in 2014 compared to 2013. Open and click through rates on Cyber Monday were 12.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. More than 46 percent of Cyber Monday emails were opened on mobile devices or tablets, versus 52 percent on desktops.

The Desktop is Not Dead: As shoppers returned to work on Cyber Monday, desktop PCs accounted for 58.6 percent of all online traffic and 78 percent of all online sales. Consumers also spent more while shopping on their PCs with an average order value of $128.24 compared to $110.72 for mobile shoppers, a difference of 15.8 percent.

Social Influence – Facebook vs. Pinterest:  As marketers continue to rely on social channels to drive brand loyalty and sales, IBM analyzed trends across two leading sites, Facebook and Pinterest.  Pinterest referrals drove an average of $97.78 per order compared to $123.44 for Facebook, a difference of 26.2 percent.  

Cyber Monday 2014 Compared to Black Friday 2014:

Cyber Monday Still Largest for Online Sales:  Cyber Monday online sales were 30.5 percent higher than Black Friday in 2014.  However, Black Friday shoppers spent an average of $129.37 per order, compared to $124.11 per order on Cyber Monday, a difference of 4.2 percent.

·Black Friday Shoppers More Mobile:  Mobile traffic and sales decreased between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as consumers headed back to the office. Cyber Monday mobile sales were down 21.2 percent, and mobile traffic down 17 percent, compared to Black Friday.
To access full reports and real-time updates on holiday shopping trends, check out the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Hub and new self-service app at  

In reading the tea leaves from the past five days it appears that if retailers at the end of the holiday season are to hit their mark of increased sales of 4 percent over last year, which would make it a merry Christmas for most, those physical browsers are going to have to ramp up even more their use of virtual browsers. It also would appear that retailers are hoping iPhone and IPad sales are strong. 

We will check back later in the shopping season to see if the strength of mobile shopping holds and if online in general enables retailers to have peace of mind about their holiday efforts.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle