Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

E-Commerce’s Billion Dollar Mondays Still Mark Holiday Shopping Season

Posted on | December 15, 2012 | No Comments

Reflecting increasing consumer confidence in a recovering U.S. economy, online shopping for the 2012 holiday season is off to a strong start.[1]

According to web analytics company Comscore, some $30 billion has been spent online by mid-December 2012, a 13-percent increase over the same period in 2011. Shopping from home and shopping from the work environment were statistically, roughly the same. Digital content and subscriptions, mainly comprised of digital books, music MP3s, and video downloads, gained the most with a 28% increase over last year; but products requiring physical delivery also showed significant growth. Toys (18%) showed a significant increase and Consumer Electronics such as tablets (15%) and Video Game Consoles & Accessories (15%) showed equal jumps.[2]

Mondays continue to be the best days for online shopping, led by Cyber Monday with a 17% increase over last year. November 26, this year’s Cyber Monday was the best day of online spending on record with $1.46 billion in sales. Green Monday also had a major increase to $1,275 billion of e-commerce sales.

Green Monday was been identified as the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas and has been statistically the second busiest online shopping day of the season after Cyber Monday. Falling on December 10 this year, its 13% rise came from a combination of more buyers (up 7% to 9 million) as well as more spending per buyer (up 6% to $140.95) that came from an increase in the average number of purchases per buyer (up 5% to 1.76) rather than an increase in the amount spent per transaction which rose only 2% to $80.11.[3]

A number of trends are influencing holiday e-commerce patterns. Over 52 percent of e-commerce transactions that require shipping are being delivered for free. Competition is forcing retailers to lower the price threshold per item for free shipping. FedEx expects to ship about 280 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas day, an increase of 13% over figures from 2011 while UPS expects to move a whopping 528 million items. Smartphones and tablets also make it easier for consumers to search for deals and price information, if not actually facilitating transactions.[3]

Lastly, we might see the end of the trend towards “Monday shopping” as this year Tuesday, December 4 moved ahead of Green Monday with $1.362 billion in online sales. With the deadline for guaranteed delivery for Christmas as late as December 22 and with mobile solutions making shopping much more seamless in terms of time and space convenience; online holiday shopping is likely to be more evenly dispersed across the season.

Notes

[1] According to Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, the Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest level since February of 2008.
[2] Comscore continues to be a leader in web and e-commerce statistics. Information from “U.S. Online Holiday Retail Sales Reach $29 Billion” Web. 14 Dec. 2012 was particularly useful for this report. Also, see The ComScore Data Mine.
[3] “Green Monday” was originally coined by eBay who recognized the statistical spike and refers to the cash not the environment. Statistics listed here from Comscore.
[4] Transworld Business lists historical details of online holiday shopping.
[5] Chase Holiday Pulse is also an useful source of information on holiday shopping.

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Anthony J. Pennings, PhD recently joined the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University in Austin TX, after ten years on the faculty of New York University.

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    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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