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comScore: Cyber Monday Heaviest Online Spending Day in U.S. History

28 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel, Chris Tribbey

Digital content and subscription services generate largest year-over-year percent growth

To those who question the continued need for Cyber Monday — the e-commerce equivalent to retail’s Black Friday — due to burgeoning growth of online sales and related apps, Nov. 26 proved a day for the record books.

Cyber Monday tallied $1.46 billion in online spending, up 17% from $1.25 billion last year, representing the heaviest online spending day in history and the second day this season (in addition to Black Friday) to surpass $1 billion in sales, according to the latest data from comScore. Domestic e-commerce spending for the first 26 days of the November-December 2012 holiday season is up 16% to $16.4 billion from $15 billion in 2011.   

Digital content and subscriptions (which include movies, music, books and games) continue to set the pace among product categories with a year-over-year growth rate of 28%. Consumer electronics, buoyed by gains in smartphone sales, ranked second at 24%, while tablet sales helped the computer hardware category post a 22% growth rate. Video games, consoles and accessories (up 18%) and jewelry and watches (up 17%) rounded out the top five.

Interestingly, consumers conducted less e-commerce at work — the genesis for Cyber Monday — than last year, down 3.1%. Online purchases conducted at home or by college students at school increased 4%, representing 47.2% of total domestic e-commerce on Nov. 26. Workplace purchases topped 47.1%, while foreign-based online transactions in the U.S. represented 5.7% of sales — down 0.9% from last year.

“Despite some news reports suggesting that Cyber Monday might be declining in importance, the day has once again set an online spending record,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “However, it is also clear that the holiday promotional period has begun even earlier this year, with strong online sales occurring on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Now, we shall see the extent to which continuing and attractive retailer promotions are able to boost sales for the remainder of the week.”  

Separately, technology and consulting corporation IBM said Cyber Monday sales increased more than 30% year-over-year.

More than 18% of consumers visited retailer sites via a mobile device Nov. 26 (up 70% from 2011) and 18% of consumers made a purchase via mobile devices, up more than 95% from Cyber Monday 2011.

“Last year it was about the 'post-pie buy,'” said Jill Puleri, IBM global retail leader. “We could see when consumers were done with their Thanksgiving dinner and now going online. This year instead of 'post-pie buy' it’s couch commerce. Consumers are spending, maybe all day long during the holiday, buying from their mobile device.”


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