The holiday shopping season officially kicked off this year…in the American living room. Tired of being shoved, pushed, stomped on, and punched in the quest for the best deals, many consumers turned their attention to their laptops, smartphones, and tablets and clicked their way to record sales.
After reporting record online sales on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday, online shoppers continued the trend, making this past Cyber Monday the most lucrative online shopping day in U.S. history.
On Black Friday, mobile shopping accounted for almost 40% of all online traffic, a 34% increase over last year’s Black Friday numbers. Overall, Black Friday e-commerce sales climbed 18.9% year-over-year and the average order value increased 2.2% to $135.27. Black Friday online purchases at Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ/AMZN) were up 34.7% year-over-year, while sales at eBay Inc. (NASDAQ/EBAY) soared 38.7%. (Source: “Holiday 2013 – Cyber Monday and Cyber Five FINAL,” eBay Strategies Blog, December 3, 2013.)
Following record online sales on Black Friday, retailers waited impatiently for Cyber Monday to see if the good times would continue to roll—and roll they did: Cyber Monday was the fifth consecutive day of record-breaking online sales.
Online sales on Cyber Monday were up 16% year-over-year at a record $2.29 billion. On top of that, a record 18.3% of all online sales came from mobile devices, an 80% increase over Cyber Monday 2012.
While Black Friday was all about eBay, on Cyber Monday, the online sales crowd went to Amazon. At Amazon, Cyber Monday sales were up 46.2% year-over-year, while eBay had to contend with sales growth of 32.0%.
How did online retailers fare over the five cyber shopping holidays? Total online sales since Thanksgiving jumped 26% over the same period in 2012 to $7.4 billion. Thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, retailers with an online presence now earn about 10% of their annual sales online over Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. (Source: “Shopping In A Digital World: Cyber Monday Blows Past $2B In Online Sales,” CMO.com, December 3, 2013.)
While some contend the hype of sales over Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a little overwrought, it’s nice to know some stocks are gaining ground on actual news, not just because overly optimistic investors are looking for justifiable unloved stocks to prop up.
With that said, it’s not as if the Internet or mobile shopping is going anywhere soon. In fact, the Internet has evolved from being a simple research portal to the most profoundly influential marketing tool, bringing the world closer together and opening the door to a global customer base.
While the Internet is still in its infancy, there are a number of online retailers that have a commanding presence—namely Amazon and eBay—and online retailers that have made mobile shopping easier, including Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE/JWN), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE/RAD), and Target Corporation (NYSE/TGT).
Companies that process online transactions, such as Visa Inc. (NYSE/V), MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE/MA), and American Express Company (NYSE/AXP), could also be the big winners in the long run.
One mobile payment company to keep an eye on is Square, Inc. The payment startup, which uses a square credit card reader that plugs into both “iOS”- and “Android”-based mobile devices, has been in discussions with banks about an initial public offering (IPO) next year. In 2014, Square expects to report sales of approximately $1.0 billion. (Source: MacMillan. D., “Square Exploring 2014 IPO With Banks,” The Wall Street Journal web site, November 6, 2013.)
It’s not difficult to see that companies with a strong online presence and a user-friendly mobile web site are much more apt at capitalizing on the younger, Internet-savvy generation than those firms that don’t.