By Anthony L. Liuzzo, J.D., Ph.D.
(First in a Series on the Holiday Retail Shopping Season. For the Complete Package Go to the Bottom of this Post.)
Want to project retail sales for the 2012 holiday season? Forget about Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. And, you can even forget about Black Thursday, the latest moniker for Thanksgiving Day, when most of the bricks and mortars will be open. The real day of forecasting importance is Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holiday season for web sales.
For it is on this day when employees return to work and commence their online shopping. It is interesting to note that on this Monday, one can literally observe a wave across the times zones of the United States, as employees log on during their lunch hours, clicking onto their favorite retail websites.
In 2012, Mondays will remain the biggest day of the week, with sales progressively increasing as Christmas approaches. Online sales will be brisk until “Green Monday,” the second Monday in December. Monday, December 17, this year’s “Free Shipping Day,” will ring the final bell.
According to Forrester’s “US Online Holiday Retail Sales Forecast, 2012,” online retail spending for the entire 2012 holiday season is expected to reach $68.4 billion. This will mark the second consecutive 15 percent increase over the preceding year – setting a new all-time record. In 2011, 10 individual shopping days surpassed $1 billion in spending. This was led by Cyber Monday, which ranked first for the second consecutive year. We can expect the same kinds of results for 2012.
The 2012 holiday season may well disappoint many brick and mortar retailers, with sales increasing at a fairly disappointing three percent, or so. However, online sales will no doubt continue their steady upward climb. And we need to consider the burgeoning market for mobile retail sales, so-called “mcommerce.”
While web sales continue to rise, they still represent a relatively modest percentage of the total. The gap, however, is closing rapidly. This is true despite the fact that, in general, the web has replaced paper catalogue sales, rather than mall sales; and that most experts agree that the mall experience is here to stay.
The largest growing category of products sold online is consumer electronics. Products such as computer software, computers/peripherals/PDAs, online and phone gaming apps, and books and magazines, are the top-performing online product categories.
And note that figures for online retail sales exclude products like autos, auctions, and large corporate purchases.
Want to project retail sales for the 2013 holiday season? You are going to need to look even more closely at Cyber Monday!
The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark will begin tracking online retail sales beginning Thanksgiving Day, through the Christmas holiday, providing online retail sales data, including online, mobile, and social traffic.To join the holiday retail sales discussion and for up-to-date online retail sales metrics, follow the hashtag #SmarterShopping on Twitter.
Additional Coverage in this Series:
- Mobile Helps Savvy Shoppers Cash In Over Thanksgiving and Black Friday
- Multi-Channel Shoppers are the Real Winners this Black Friday
- The Digital Consumer Fuels Cyber Monday’s Record-Breaking Sales