The tally on Thanksgiving weekend continues to favor the digital-first economy. With in-store shopping on the decrease and online sales spiking as expected, the situation looks like it’s tailor-made for Cyber Monday to be the biggest shopping day of the year.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend $12.7 billion today, a 35 percent bounce over 2019, according to Adobe Analytics. It’s a day that will test supply chains and fulfillment capacities that were already strained by a record-breaking holiday spending take so far. In fact, the issue is not whether Cyber Monday will break records, but whether every retailer – from Amazon to Walmart – will be able to pick, pack and ship on time.
“We face a different sort of problem today than early in the pandemic, when the issue was within the retailers’ warehouses, and the question was: Were they geared up enough to be able to pick [items] fast enough, and get it out to the shippers?” said Michael Brown, a partner in Kearney’s consumer products and retail practice. “Then, the issue became product availability: Was it in stock, and could companies really ship the items that the consumer had ordered? Once they got over that hurdle, I think we’ve seen a prolonged period of successful shipping.”
If optimizing the entire shopping week is any indication, retailers are expecting to stretch Cyber Monday well into December. For example, Target revealed plans on Friday (Nov. 27) for its “largest-ever” Cyber Week with two new digital “flash sales.” After wrapping up its month-long “Black Friday Now” sale, the retailer announced that Cyber Week will run from Sunday (Nov. 29) through Saturday (Dec. 5). The sale includes deep discounts within electronics, toys, home decor, apparel, everyday essentials and more. And new this year, Target is offering another way for guests to save even more through two digital “flash sales” on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30).
“We know many people are doing more of their holiday shopping online this year, so our biggest Cyber Week yet includes more deals and more ways to save than ever before,” Rick Gomez, Target executive vice president and chief marketing, digital and strategy officer, said in a statement.
Cyber Week follows another chapter in the pandemic’s economic disruption. Shoppers have taken the digital shopping habits they adopted in the wake of COVID-19 and used them to bring their Black Friday game plan to the next level. PYMNTS research shows that 74.1 percent of holiday shoppers bought or plan to buy their holiday purchases online in 2020, representing a 12.7 percent increase from the share who did so in 2019. It is also 27.1 percent more than those who shopped online on Black Friday in 2018, demonstrating the continuation of a much longer and broader transition that has been driving more consumers to shop online with each passing year.
Consumers not only shopped online more than ever before, but many avoided shopping in stores altogether. Only 15 percent of all consumers who kicked off the holiday shopping season this Black Friday shopped exclusively in stores, a 25.7 percent decrease in the share of consumers made their Black Friday purchases at a physical store in 2019 and a 41.4 percent decrease in the share that did so in 2018.
Consumers who planned to do some of their holiday shopping online this year said the primary driver is that shopping online is easier and more convenient than shopping in stores. PYMNTS research showed that 67.6 percent of all holiday eCommerce shoppers used online channels for this reason, compared to 47.4 percent who cited the fear of COVID-19 infection as their reason. Product availability rounded out the top three holiday eCommerce drivers.
PYMNTS survey findings also indicate that 47.6 percent of consumers who shopped online this Black Friday did so because there is greater product availability online than in stores. Other major reasons holiday shoppers gave for doing their shopping online this year included the ability to access lower prices, the fact that it takes too long to get in and out of stores and a belief that data security is stronger online.