Cyber Week Sales Strong, Yet Slightly Down This Holiday Season

Supply chain shortages, early shopping, and even earlier deals may have contributed to a slight decline in U.S. eCommerce sales during Cyber Week — the time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday kicking off the holiday shopping season. Last year, Americans spent a record $34.4 billion during Cyber Week, up 20.7% from the year prior. This year, that figure dropped by 1.4% to $33.9 billion in online sales.

Black Friday

This year's Black Friday faced several unique hurdles, including a national labor shortage, supply chain constraints, and the emergence of the new Omicron variant. According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday sales reached $8.9 billion, down 1.3% from last year’s record of $9.03 billion. On the other hand, traffic at brick-and-mortar stores increased by 61% compared to last year’s levels (yet still below pre-pandemic rates in 2019).

Cyber Monday

It wasn’t quite ‘Blue Monday’, but sales were also slightly down on Cyber Monday. Projected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year, this year’s Cyber Monday results fell short of market expectation. Retailers pulled in $10.7 billion in sales…not bad, but almost $100 million shy (-1.4% YOY) of last year’s record-breaking sales numbers. Despite the declines, Cyber Monday consumers shopped categories such as toys, gift cards, video games, and toddler products in greater numbers. Sales figures for appliances (microwaves and other small kitchen devices) were also up, resulting in a 5% increase in the category.

Key Insights

Not every retailer saw declining online sales this year. For example, Amazon once again had a tremendous Cyber Week, reporting record-breaking sales on home goods, toys, apparel, and other product categories.

Mobile shopping (and browsing) is still thriving, comprising of 44.4% of online sales on Black Friday, an increase of 10.6%. Consumers prefer to browse deals on their phone before buying, with smartphone visits accounting for 62.2% compared to desktop.

According to Forbes and other market experts, U.S. consumption remains solid. Along with supply issues and labor shortages, the likeliest reason why 2021 wasn’t a record-setting holiday season was because consumers were spreading out their spending throughout the year. Many retailers introduced discounts much earlier in the year, so consumers didn’t have to wait until Black Friday to get great deals on goods like appliances, TVs, or other electronics. In fact, during the first 22 days of November, Americans spent $109.8 billion online, representing a 12% increase (exceeding $3 billion in shopping) over last year.

Although Cyber Week numbers are down, Adobe expects the overall holiday season to break new records. From November 1 through December 31, Adobe forecasts that shoppers will drive 10% year-over-year growth in sales to possibly hit $207 billion.

So let’s all shop, wait, and see!