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5 Things to Know About Cyber Monday 2012

Cyber Monday 2011 was one of the most successful days in the history of the online retail industry. Sales reached $1.25 billion, a new single day online retail record, and many of the top online retailers set single-day site traffic records. The 22% increase in sales from Cyber Monday 2010 only further illustrated the unprecedented growth of the virtual holiday and the eCommerce industry as a whole.

So what can we expect from Cyber Monday 2012? Here are 5 things to know about this year’s version of the biggest online shopping day of the year…

  1. Cyber Monday 2012 will likely be the biggest online shopping day yet – With Cyber Monday sales increasing year over year by an average of 17% since 2005, it’s easy to predict that Cyber Monday 2012 should again break records. Many online retailers and service providers have upgraded their eCommerce technology with a focus on handling the expected site traffic of Cyber Monday. Using the modest 17% average over the past six years, Cyber Monday 2012 sales could reach almost $1.5 billion, roughly a quarter of a billion dollars more in sales than Cyber Monday 2011.
  2. Black Friday is becoming the new Cyber Monday – Black Friday is no longer specifically about waking up extra early the day after Thanksgiving and waiting outside in the cold for the best deals. While Black Friday has been a huge hit for offline retail sales, it has also had a positive effect for online retail sales as well. In fact, Black Friday online sales increased by 26% last year to $816 million and it’s certainly possible that at a similar growth rate Black Friday sales in 2012 could surpass the $1 billion dollar mark. Cyber Monday may have some competition in the coming years for its title as “the most popular online shopping day of the year”.

  3. Cyber Monday now starts early and ends late – The evolution of smartphones and tablets has changed not only how consumers shop on Cyber Monday but also when consumers shop. Last year the amount of money spent on Cyber Monday before 9AM increased by approximately 400% and the money spent between 5PM and 9PM increased by over 40%. Consumers are clearly moving away from the need to shop in the afternoon (between 1PM and 5PM) and are now completing eCommerce transactions around the clock.
  4. Tablet users spend big on Cyber Monday – With increased tablet usage, especially with the recently launched smaller tablets, the influx of new mobile devices could result in higher average order values on Cyber Monday 2012 than in previous years. According to eMarketer, Cyber Monday 2011 average order values from tablets were $123, $10 more than traditional computer purchases and $23 more than smartphone purchases. It will be interesting to see how this trend will change on Cyber Monday 2012 with the debut of the more affordable, smaller tablets.
  5. Cyber Monday (and the days before) bring high cart abandonment rates – There has been an interesting trend in recent years on the days leading up to Cyber Monday – they have the highest cart abandonment rates throughout the entire year. Last year, cart abandonment rates reached a record high of 89.2% on November 23rd (only 78.8% on Cyber Monday itself, still 6% above the yearly average) and could potentially surpass the 90% mark this holiday season. These rising rates can be a concern for retailers as they see consumers click on the shopping cart but leave in hopes of a steeper discount on Cyber Monday. Being clear and up-front with current and future promotions can help to reduce this abandonment rate in the days leading up to Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday 2012 should be another record-breaking day for the eCommerce industry. The continual growth of this online holiday only validates the notion that more holiday season sales are moving online and holiday promotions are no longer limited to specific days. Some retailers will also leverage new technology on Cyber Monday, increasing their online inventory for the busiest online shopping day of the year with ship-from-store options. It will certainly be an online shopping day to remember!