Wed, Dec 03, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Cyber Monday slow, consumers shop earlier

AVOIDING THE RUSH:With the convenience of cyber shopping and a desire to spread the load across an extended shopping season, one-day deals are no longer as popular

Bloomberg

Cyber Monday sales growth is slowing as consumers embrace the convenience of online shopping, spreading out their purchases instead of being lured by one-day specials.

Internet holiday shopping rose 8.1 percent on Cyber Monday, typically the busiest day for Web shopping, as people returned to their desks after the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

That compares with online sales growth of 17.5 percent posted on the same day a year earlier, according to International Business Machines Corp.

The declining pace of growth reflects an earlier start to the year-end shopping season, with Amazon.com Inc and other online retailers offering online deals a week before Black Friday, when stores traditionally began offering holiday discounts.

With people shopping online more frequently, e-commerce on Saturday and Sunday was up 17 percent compared with the same weekend last year, according to IBM, which began measuring pre-Cyber Monday sales last year in response to shoppers’ changing habits.

“We’re still getting really strong growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but people are realizing it’s a season of shopping,” said Soren Mills, chief marketing officer at Newegg Inc, an online electronics retailer.

“We’re releasing new deals all the time. We refresh constantly and bring in new deals to keep the excitement there. People are turning it from a day-long occasion to a month-long occasion,” he said.

The Cyber Monday sales slowdown took place even as Amazon, eBay Inc and other online retailers cut prices on electronics to lure shoppers.

Amazon touted its Fire TV streaming device for US$69 as part of its Cyber Monday promotions. eBay featured discounts on laptop and notebook computers of various brands. Newegg started its holiday shopping deals on Wednesday last week, with sales through Sunday climbing 15 percent, Mills said.

“It’s not like the day isn’t growing, it’s just that the additional growth is being spread more evenly on other days,” IBM strategy program director Jay Henderson said.

Cyber Monday is typically seen as an opportunity for retailers to “stem some of the bleeding,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Black Friday becomes more irrelevant every year,” Mulpuru said, adding that online shopping would reach US$89 billion this holiday season.

Sales at San Jose, California-based eBay climbed 19 percent on Cyber Monday, beating the total growth rate, while Amazon lagged at 12 percent, according to ChannelAdvisor Corp, which works with merchants to increase sales.

That is because the Seattle-based online retailer pushed deals earlier, helping it to post sales growth of 46 percent on Saturday and 24 percent on Sunday, according to the firm.

“Consumers are definitely shopping earlier,” ChannelAdvisor chief executive officer Scot Wingo said. “Thanksgiving eats into Black Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are eating into Cyber Monday.”

Shopping conducted using smartphones and tablets yesterday accounted for about 20 percent of e-commerce sales, up from a total of 17 percent the previous year, according to IBM.

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