TECHNOLOGY

Adobe: Online holiday shopping gets a jump-start in November

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Online customers aren’t waiting until Black Friday weekend to put a dent in their holiday shopping.

Between Nov. 1-11, ending on Veteran’s Day, online spend surpassed $1 billion in online spend (compared to only nine of 11 days in 2016). This puts spending on pace to hit a total of $13.9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.

Besides tracking 1.8% higher than predicted, November’s online spend to date is at a 19.8% year-over-year (YoY) increase, compared to a 4.8% YoY increase in 2016. This was likely due to last year’s presidential election and steeper product discounts in 2017, according to data.

Specific to Veteran’s Day, total online sales came in at $1.3 billion, 9.1% growth YoY. While mobile traffic and revenue on the rise, desktop sales are slowing. When looking at traffic share by device, smartphones are at 44% (28% YoY), desktop is 46% (-19.1% YoY), and tablets are 10% (15% YoY). When considering share of revenue by device, smartphones encompass 24% (40% YoY), desktop has 64% (-13% YoY), and tablets are 12% (12% YoY).

Meanwhile, conversion rates across all devices saw double digit growth. Desktop hit 4.6% (21.7% YoY), tablet comprised 4.1% (12.3% YoY), and smartphones encompassed 1.8% (16.2% YoY).

Regardless of the channel customers use to place orders, deep discounts are likely motivating shoppers early in the season. The top selling kids toys include Spin Master Hatchimals, PJ Masks branded items, Hasbro Baby Alive, Nintendo’s Switch and Super Mario Odyssey, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 4.

Top selling electronics include Apple AirPods and laptops, Samsung tablets, as well as Lenovo, Dell and HP laptops. Revenue from smartphones is on the rise at 24% of purchases, up 40% YoY; while conversion rates for smartphones also saw double digit growth at 1.9% (up 16.2% YoY).

However, these discounts are impacting sales volume. Specifically, sales of TVs are down 10.8% since Oct. 1; computers dropped 5%, and toys are down 9.8%, according to data.

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TECHNOLOGY

Alibaba’s Singles Day shatters records

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Not only did Alibaba Group’s Singles Day smash its own record, its volume exceeded the combined U.S. sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The 24-hour shopping extravaganza, held on Nov. 11, brought in $25.3 billion in sales (or gross merchandise value) to Alibaba’s platforms, up 39% compared to 2016. Sales settled through Alibaba’s Alipay accounted for 90% of total GMV. A total of 1.48 billion transactions were processed by Alipay in the entire 24 hours.

More than 140,000 Chinese brands and 60,000 international brands participated in this year’s Singles Day event, a move that encouraged 225 countries and regions to complete transactions throughout the day. The top countries selling to China included Japan, United States, Australia, Germany, South Korea.

Overall, 167 merchants each generated more than $15.1 million in sales. Meanwhile, 17 merchants surpassed $75.4 million in sales, and six merchants surpassed $150.9 million in sales.

Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41% from 2016. The network processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak. Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second at peak, and Cainiao Network processed 812 million total delivery orders.

The first delivery arrived 12 minutes and 18 seconds after midnight, according to Alibaba.

To boost excitement — further blend the online and offline experiences — Alibaba created “smart stores” that featured virtual browsing, shopping tours, virtual fitting rooms, payments and deliveries. Specifically, the Chinese online giant turned 100,000 physical shops around China into “smart stores.” Goods perused by people at the stores, but then bought and paid for on Alibaba’s platforms, were added towards the sales total, according to CNBC.

“More than $25 billion of GMV in one day is not just a sales figure,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “It represents the aspiration for quality consumption of the Chinese consumer, and it reflects how merchants and consumers alike have now fully embraced the integration of online and offline retail.”

Merchants involved in the event expected to distribute an estimated 1.5 billion parcels over the next six days.

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Cyber Monday outshines all Black Friday weekend shopping days

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The Black Friday shopping weekend may span five days, but Cyber Monday is expected to be the most popular shopping day.

In fact, nearly 72% of consumers planning to shop online for Cyber Monday, followed by Black Friday (69%), and then Thanksgiving (49%), according to the “2017 Holiday Shopping Survey,” from Offers.com.

As the tech generation, 88% of millennials will be shopping on Cyber Monday this year – roughly 20% more than shoppers over 35 who plan to do so.

While Cyber Monday is the most favored shopping day overall, Black Friday shopping garnered a surprising surge of popularity with millennials. Specifically, younger generations are 19% more likely than any other age group to hit the brick-and-mortar stores come Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Technology continues to play a major part of the shopping holiday, especially with a 17% increase in mobile use in the past two years. In fact, all Black Friday weekend long, more consumers will be shopping online or via a mobile device (33%) compared to in-store 30%.

Nearly three-quarters of consumers (73%) plan to use their mobile devices to assist with holiday shopping. While mobile usage is not up among people using it to shop, more consumers are heavily relying on mobile devices to look for coupons, compare prices, check reviews and get directions to the store for an optimal holiday shopping experience, the study said.

As online retailers continue to undercut brick-and-mortar retailers (and offer the obvious convenience factor), online shopping is becoming increasingly compelling for shoppers. Holiday-shopping aside, the overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (96%) shop online throughout the year. Meanwhile, 64% shop online monthly, up 7% from 2016.

When it comes to coupon usage, 77% of consumers will search online for deals before a holiday purchase at least some of the time, and more than half (51%) will do so at least most of the time. Those in the 55+ age bracket are the least likely to search in advance for coupons.

When it comes to specific brands, stores such as Target, Walmart and Kohl’s will be the busiest between Black Friday and Cyber Monday — but for a good reason. Year after year, these retailers have shown major discounts on the top items consumers are looking for, such as clothing, electronics, gift cards and toys.

Specifically, 60% of shoppers will hit Walmart, 45% will shop with Target, and 29% will go to Kohl’s. Best Buy has 26% of shoppers.

A new player in the game is Amazon, having risen to the top spot in consumer popularity within the recent years. With Amazon providing sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, plus fast shipping and no lines, it’s not hard to see why the online retail giant has risen to the top, with 67% of consumers shopping there.

When it comes to the top holiday gift items — and the percentage of consumers looking for deals on these items — clothing tops the list at 54%, followed closely by electronics (TVs, Tablets, etc.) (46%), gift cards (39%), toys (37%), and video games and equipment (33%).

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