Cyber Monday sales still on top, but losing some luster

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Cyber Monday’ expected to hit record $3 billion in sales despite Target outage and other disruptions.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (CBS) — It’s not the North Pole, but the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Mercer County, New Jersey might as well be the next best thing.Retailers are rolling out online deals on so-called “Cyber Monday.” But now that shoppers are online all the time anyway, the 10-year-old shopping holiday is losing some of its luster.While the deals don’t come close to matching the retail doorbusters that saw $400 TVs selling for $150 on Thanksgiving Day, many online retailers are offering substantial price cuts, and free shipping, to get folks to buy.

Online sales on Cyber Monday may rise at least 18 percent from a year earlier, slower growth than during the holiday weekend as consumers started their Internet shopping earlier, according to forecasts by International Business Machines Corp. Scott Stanzel, an Amazon spokesperson says, “We have 14 miles of conveyor belts here.” That’s where boxes shoot from one end of the facility to the other. That includes popular Star Wars toys like R2D2 Interactive Robotic Droid and action figures from the upcoming film, as well as Star Wars video games for PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One 1TB Fallout 4 Console Bundle. While mobile accounted for roughly 30% of online shopping for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, by mid-day, it was as high as 53%, according to Adobe, with 41% from phones and 12% from tablets. Frenzied crowds seemed to be a thing of the past on Black Friday — the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving — and sales fell to $10.4 billion this year, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to preliminary figures from research firm ShopperTrak. “Consumers are recognizing the Internet is the place to go for a deal any time, any day,” said Gene Alvarez, managing vice president of research firm Gartner.

The online rush Monday was enough to knock Target’s web site down for a short period Monday morning. “So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays,” a notice on the site read about 10:30 a.m. Amazon was offering 65 percent off sweaters, Target was touting 15 percent off its whole site for the first time and Wal-Mart offered $500 off a $1200 LG 65-inch 4K Ultra HDTV. “I personally skip Black Friday just to shop Cyber Monday,” said Mark Flores, a parks and recreation director from Lynwood, California. Slightly fewer people are expected to shop online today for Cyber Monday, 121.3 million, than last year when 126.9 million shopped, the National Retail Federation estimated.

More people shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend than expected and that could either stoke the Cyber Monday movement or cut into the buying activity. Research firm Comscore expects online sales to rise 14 percent to $70.06 billion During the November and December shopping period, slowing slightly from last year’s 15 percent rise.

Online sales make up 10 percent of overall retail sales, but that increases to 15 percent during the holidays as online shoppers snap up Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, according to research firm Forrester. Over the weekend, smartphones were the preferred method of online purchases, according to IBM, driving 19 percent of Internet sales, up 66 percent from last year. E.T. on Monday, Adobe, which tracks 200 million visitors to 4,500 retail websites, said $490 million had been spent online, 14 percent higher than a year ago, putting sales on track to hit $3 billion. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said even though more people are shopping online and on their phones throughout the season, Cyber Monday will still drive sales from its name alone. Diane Boral, 33, from Oxnard, California, scoured sites for deals ranging from 20 percent to 75 percent off and ended up buying toys, games and clothes at Kohl’s site, which offered free shipping and 20 percent off.

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