While early projections were that growth in online sales overall would slow this holiday, Cyber Monday sales were strong. Sales took a leap on Thanksgiving and climbed steadily through Sunday. comScore data reported a 2% increase over last year for Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined, for a total of $822 million spent on both days.
At site cybermonday.com, traffic was at more than 2 million by about 5 p.m., compared with 1.5 million visitors last year, said Kimathi Marangu, co-founder of Mall Networks, which runs the site and others like it for clients such as Delta and Chase. “We’ve seen strong growth from last year,” he said.
Melissa Payner, chief executive officer of Bluefly, said it was apparent by midafternoon Monday that the off-price Web site was tracking an increase over last Cyber Monday. “It’s always been a strong day since we started calling it Cyber Monday. We are trending ahead of last year.”
But, like at brick-and-mortar stores, consumers were seeking bargains and e-tailers were responding with more promotions than ever. The home page of fashion site Net-a-porter, for example, proclaimed “Sale” in big letters.
Bluefly’s Payner said she expected the strong selling trends seen over the Black Friday weekend, in outerwear, cashmere sweaters and contemporary handbags, to continue through Cyber Monday.
This year, Bluefly, which offers 40 percent off regular prices, offered an extra 15 percent off anything on the Web site on Cyber Monday. Last year, it was 10 percent. “We have a lot more competition with full-price retailers this year,” Payner said, explaining the reason for the increase in the discount.
Despite the good news for online sales, all is not well in retail.
American Research Group revised its annual holiday sales forecast to a decline of 3.5%, down from the 1% drop predicted in mid-November. Standard & Poor’s debt and equity analysts also continued to slice and dice the sectors’ prospects and decided on further downgrades.