A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Cyber 5 rings in hopeful holiday season

Incoming sales tallies for Cyber 5, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, are a boon for retailers, many of whom have been adversely affected by COVID-19. When Black Friday kicked off retail's peak selling season, consumers flocked to stores as others shopped from the comfort of home screens and connected devices.

Early reports from Adobe Analytics show Black Friday sales reached $9.03 billion, a 21.6 percent increase compared to the $7.4 billion in sales recorded on the same day in 2019.

Chris Harris, senior director at Ondot Systems, observed this year's holiday season differs from previous years. "In 2020, we see that people don't want to leave their homes and this has driven up online spending and reduced in-store spending," he said. "People are also spreading out their shopping window so instead of concentrating it on a single weekend, this year people spread that shopping throughout November, which actually saw an increase when compared to last year."

Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, noted that retailers have planned for high traffic by ensuring stores were safe and clean and ecommerce sites were easy to navigate. "Many things have changed since the onset of the pandemic, but the commitment by retailers to meet the consumer where, when and how they shop at the prices they want to pay never changes," he said.

Early deals

Analysts attribute high in-store and online volumes to deep discounts, but they found struggling retailers, including Sears and Victoria's Secret, began promotions well ahead of Black Friday, which diminished Cyber 5 sales totals.

An annual survey, released Dec. 1, 2020, by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics, found growth in online activity during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Survey data was derived from 6,615 adult consumers between Nov. 25 and 30, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points, the companies stated.

The survey additionally found that retailers attracted more than 52 percent of holiday shoppers with early holiday sales and promotions, some beginning in October 2020. Among these early shoppers, 38 percent of respondents did their shopping during Thanksgiving week; 53 percent found few differences between Black Friday offers and earlier promotions.

Shay acknowledged that many consumers began their holiday shopping early but noted that others embraced what he called "a long-standing tradition of turning out online and in stores over Thanksgiving weekend to make gift purchases for family and friends."

He also emphasized that overall sales volumes remain high, with 186.4 million shoppers during the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. While this number is slightly down from 189.6 million in 2019, it is higher than the 165.8 million shoppers in 2018, he stated.

Early steals

As expected, security analysts have also observed an uptick in online fraud as bad actors take advantage of high transaction volumes by launching attacks on unsuspecting shoppers.

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, recommends being vigilant when shopping online during the holiday season. "Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals from unknown sellers, as cybercriminals will also expect to turn a profit during the holiday season, even though they are not selling anything, except maybe a bag full of disappointment," she stated.

Shelly Palmer, CEO at the Palmer Group, also observed that scammers are out in force. "I won't speculate as to why the volume of scam emails and fake websites are at all-time highs, but I will tell you that if a charity website URL does not begin with https (the "s" at the end is all-important), do not consider entering your credit card information," he wrote in a Nov. 30, blog post titled "Buyers and Givers Beware."

Palmer also advised not to click on any email from a charitable organization. "If you get an email from a charity -- no matter what the charity is, whether you know them or not, whether you are a usual donor or not -- do not click," he stated. "Instead, open a browser window and visit the site directly. Don't click on email offers this week (or ever, actually)."

Cyber 5 trends

Data from the Adobe 2020 Holiday Predictions Report and Holiday Actuals Report are based on aggregated metadata from more than 1 trillion visits to over 4,500 retail websites and 100 million SKUs, according to Adobe Analytics representatives.

While Cyber Monday sales are still being calculated, researchers project between $10.8 to $12.7 billion in total spend, making 2020 Cyber Monday the largest online sales day in history.

Following are additional highlights:

  • Thanksgiving Day: While numerous retailers were closed during the Thanksgiving holiday, some kept their ecommerce sites open, and overall spending increased by 21.5 percent over the 2019 holiday.

  • Free shipping: A majority of Cyber 5 orders (70 percent) included free shipping.

  • BOPIS, Curbside pickup: Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup increased by 52 percent compared to same period last year.

  • Shop Small: Consumers indicated that they are making an effort to support smaller retailers throughout the season, with 38 percent transacting with local merchants on Small Business Saturday.

  • Ecommerce: Adobe Analytics is predicting a total of $189 billion in 2020 holiday online spend.
end of article

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
A Thing