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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 23, 2013 • Issue 13:12:02

Cyber Monday sets online sales record

On the quintessential Monday following Thanksgiving 2013, online sales jumped by 20 percent or more over the same day last year. The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark put the online payments increase at 20.6 percent on Cyber Monday. Traffic from mobile devices grew to 31.7 percent of all online traffic, representing a 45 percent jump from the same day in 2012. Additionally, mobile-based transactions increased by 55.4 percent year-over-year, IBM reported.

Internet analytics firm comScore Inc. set total desktop online spending on Cyber Monday at $1.735 billion, an 18 percent rise from the previous year. The researchers thus pronounced Cyber Monday 2013 as the "heaviest online spending day in history and the second day this season (in addition to Black Friday's $1.198 billion) to surpass $1 billion in sales."

Meanwhile, online identity verification firm Cardinal Commerce Corp. reported that the number of Cyber Monday transactions touching its network were up by 61 percent from 2012.

On Visa Inc.'s Dec. 3, 2013, corporate blog, Visa Chief Economist Wayne Best said $2.6 billion was spent online using Visa-branded cards on Cyber Monday, a 28 percent increase from the same day in 2012. In addition, Visa cardholders made 28 million transactions on Monday, up by 29 percent from last year.

Going mobile

IBM's report also found that consumers surf the Internet more often with smartphones than tablets, but tablets are used for purchasing more than twice as often as smartphones. Additionally, tablet users spend more on average than smartphone users, $126.30 to $106.49, respectively.

Also, comparing daily marketing activity over the previous two months to the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, IBM said retailers sent 77 percent more "push" notifications (text messages and popup messages within mobile apps) to customers.

Foot traffic follows awareness

While the staggering increase in e-commerce activity on Cyber Monday is good news for online businesses, it is less joyful for primarily brick-and-mortar retailers. Small businesses without web presences, or with limited presences, are likely experiencing a decline in sales as consumers shift to purchasing online via smartphones and tablets. ISOs and merchant level salespeople can increase small businesses' share of the growing e-commerce pie by bolstering their online presences. The August 2012 Small Business Happiness Index survey from online business card provider Vistaprint N.V. said 69 percent of micro businesses surveyed had a website, but only 46 percent of them were selling products via those sites.

Brick-and-mortar merchants can also leverage awareness and loyalty campaigns, such as Small Business Saturday, to drive traffic into physical stores. Payments industry consultant Linda S. Perry believes the results of the American Express Co.-created annual promotion for small businesses is reason for optimism. "I think it's a great promotion," she said. "It's well-run and easy to use."

Since 2010, AmEx has urged its U.S. cardholders to shop at local small businesses on the Saturday following Black Friday. According to data compiled by AmEx and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, spending at smaller merchants on Small Business Saturday reached $5.7 billion, up by 3.6 percent from the same day in 2012. The figure may not be as impressive as Cyber Monday results, but it represents a positive trend that can be built upon through awareness and participation. end of article

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