2019 is a big year for retail spending, and holiday shopping is no exception. The five-day holiday shopping weekend that connects Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday saw record numbers of consumers in stores and online, resulting in record sales. While some of the numbers were expected, the final totals weren’t without surprises. Cyber Monday’s record-breaking total reached $9.4 billion with consumers spending an average of $12 million every minute during peak hours as deals neared a close.
As a business owner wrapping up the year, it’s always a great idea to use today’s data to plan for tomorrow’s income. Whether your business oversaw a lucrative Black Friday weekend or you’re hoping to make serious improvements, holiday retail sales analytics from 2019 will help you prepare for the best holiday season possible in 2020.
Record Holiday Retail Sales for 2019
The numbers are in, and consumers are feeling generous this holiday season as shoppers broke spending records during the two biggest holiday shopping days of the year. Faced with the shortest holiday shopping season in 7 years, both consumers and retailers were ready to get started as sales began on Thanksgiving day. Online sales reached expected levels on Cyber Monday, but the convenience of shopping from home spanned across all shopping days, offering a surprise boost to online shopping numbers.
While it’s no surprise that more consumers than ever are shopping online, some statistics are still enough to raise eyebrows. A record 186.6 million shoppers spent time shopping both in-store and online to catch the great deals offered by retailers. As of December 3rd, these shoppers turned out record sales as well, with a whopping $81.5 billion in retail e-commerce sales this holiday season.
Facing Off: Black Friday vs Cyber Monday
Traditionally, Black Friday has been known as the biggest shopping day of the year, but as more consumers turn to the convenience of shopping online Cyber Monday could become king of sales. While the in-store sales fell short of last year’s total, online sales produced record numbers for 2019:
- Thanksgiving: $4.2 billion
- Black Friday: $7.4 billion
- Small Business Saturday: $3.6 billion
- Super Sunday: $3.83 billion
- Cyber Monday: $9.4 billion
Another unexpected shift this holiday shopping season is that wealthy consumers prefer Cyber Monday to Black Friday. A survey by Morning Consults revealed that shoppers with income over $100,000/year showed the strongest preference for Cyber Monday, compared to just 35.9% of the wealthiest tier of participants who said they’d rather check out Black Friday. And this is exactly the insightful trend to potentially bring repercussions for the holiday shopping strategies.
Cyber Monday is definitely growing in popularity, but digital sales on Black Friday could continue to be a major contender. For the first time ever, the number of digital shoppers on BF surpassed those on CM. Here’s the breakdown of where shoppers spent the most time:
- Thanksgiving: 37.8 million shoppers in-store, 49.7 million online
- Black Friday: 84.2 million in-store and 93.2 million online
- Small Business Saturday: 59.9 million in-store shoppers topping the 58.2 million online
- Super Sunday: 29.2 million in-store and 43.1 million online
- Cyber Monday: 12.8 million shoppers in-store and 83.3 million online
In-store Shopping Decline
Some consumers still appreciate the sensation of seeing products in person, but acceptance for online purchases is growing faster than ever. This growth is expected, but it leaves retailers wondering whether to concentrate on bringing customers back to the physical store or concentrate more efforts online. While Thanksgiving day saw a 2.3% increase of in-store shoppers, Black Friday 2019 ended with a disappointing 6.2% decrease.
Buy online-purchase in-store (BOPIS) sales are likely a huge part of brick and mortar traffic as these sales increased 43% over last year. While these sales don’t count as in-store sales, it’s common for shoppers to make additional purchases while they’re at the store. Clearly, this dual-purpose technique is a key component of the future for convenient in-store holiday shopping.
Massive Mobile Shopping Growth
The biggest area of online sales growth came from mobile devices. For the first time ever, over $3 billion in online sales were made via smartphones alone, reflecting 46% growth. This number accounted for a third of all transactions, outpacing the growth of overall online sales. Traffic brought by smartphones also grew by 15.8% from last year to 61%. Combined with free shipping and store pickup, the convenience of mobile websites and apps is a perfect solution during a time-consuming holiday shopping season.
Smartphones for More than Making Purchases
It’s no surprise that smartphones have everything to do with the increase in online shopping this year. With more than 2.7 billion smartphone users around the world, no wonder mobile purchases surged past $3 billion for the first time ever on Cyber Monday 2019. This has helped make it the biggest online sales day in US history in terms of profits. And as the season draws to a close, smartphones are expected to account for 36% of total e-commerce sales, making the devices the “breakout star” of the season.
Cyber Monday shopping meets most consumers back at work. For such a case, smartphones provide consumers with the ability to research products, compare prices, and make purchases right on the go. Simply having the ability to make these comparisons alone is the motivator for consumers to make a purchase they would otherwise feel hesitant about. Add here disruptive mobile retail tech solutions like virtual dressing and personalized size recommendations that eliminate confusion and complexities with poor size and fit to reduce the hassle process for next year!
Retail Technology Makes Online Holiday Shopping More Dependable
As the most wonderful time of the year is also the busiest time of the year for most consumers, new technology aims to free up a little bit of that precious time for busy shoppers. Consumers aged 18-34 are more likely to use new technologies to save time while shopping. With 40% of these shoppers expected to spend more than last holiday season, tech increases could make the difference between whether consumers are spending money at your store or your competitor’s.
Whether you’re seeking more shoppers online, in-store, or both, tech users are eager to see increased convenience with modern equipment. Automated checkouts are preferred by 23% of shoppers. Newer in-store technologies are appealing to younger consumers as well, with 21% of shoppers seeking mobile wallet payments and 16% with a preference for new methods of delivery – i.e. drones or in-car delivery. New technology is helping mobile shoppers save time as well, with convenient options like mobile 3D body scanning, which allows you to get to know your actual customers. Meanwhile, the better you know your customers, the more personalized you can make the recommendations, the more customized you can make the product, and the more likely they are to shop with you.
So, whether your 2019 holiday retail season has already either exceeded or fallen short of your expectations, there’s always room for improvement. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, and though it might prove difficult to improve your sales before the end of the year, today’s stats can provide a look into the future.
It’s safe to say that smartphones aren’t going anywhere; with mobile growth on the rise, mobile sales are projected to account for 54% of total e-commerce sales by 2021 and are bound to keep growing with every year. For successful online stores preparing for the year ahead and for the Christmas shopping season to come, new technology will be the way to attract more customers next holiday season.