NEW YORK (AP) — Days after flocking to stores on Black Friday, consumers are turning to Cyber Monday for more discounts on gifts and other items that have skyrocketed in price due to high inflation.
According to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at more than 85 of the top 100 U.S. online stores, Cyber Monday is expected to remain the biggest online shopping day of the year and drive up to $11.6 billion in sales. . This forecast represents a jump from the $10.7 billion spent by consumers last year.
Adobe’s numbers are not adjusted for inflation, but the company says demand increases even when inflation is taken into account. Some analysts said sales would be boosted by higher prices and the quantity of items consumers would buy could remain unchanged or even fall. compared to previous years. Profit margins are also expected to be tight for retailers offering deeper discounts to appeal to budget-conscious consumers and eliminate bloated inventory.
Shoppers spent a record $9.12 billion online on Black Friday, up 2.3% from a year ago, according to Adobe. E-commerce activity remained strong over the weekend, with $9.55 billion in online sales.
Salesforce, which also tracks spending, said its estimates showed U.S. online sales hit $15 billion on Friday and $17.2 billion over the weekend, with an average discount rate of 30. % on products. Electronics, sportswear, toys and health and beauty items were among those that gave a big boost, the two groups said.
CONSUMERS SPEND CAREFULLY
Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending for all payment types including cash and credit cards, said overall Black Friday sales were up 12% from a year earlier. Sales in physical stores increased by 12%, while online sales increased by 14%.
RetailNext, which captures sales and traffic through cameras, said in-store traffic increased 7% on Black Friday, while sales in physical stores improved 0.1% from it. a year ago. However, spend per customer fell nearly 7% as cautious shoppers browsed more than they bought. Another company that tracks in-store traffic – Sensormatic Solutions – said in-store traffic was up 2.9% on Black Friday compared to a year ago.
“Shoppers are more thoughtful, but they’re looking to multiple retailers to help them figure out what to buy this year,” said Brian Field, global retail analytics and consulting leader at Sensormatic.
Danny Groner, a 39-year-old man who lives in New York, said he and his wife wanted to buy a new television to replace the one they had for about seven years. He spent some time on Monday looking for deals online and found some good discounts. Still, he says he wants to be intentional about what he buys and isn’t afraid to spend a little extra on the right product.
Overall, online spending has remained resilient in recent weeks as avid shoppers buy more items on credit and adopt ‘buy now, pay later’ services that don’t carry interest charges. but incur late fees.
In the first three weeks of November, online sales remained essentially flat compared to last year, according to Adobe. He said the modest rise shows consumers have a strong appetite for holiday shopping amid economic uncertainty.
Still, some big retailers are feeling a shift. Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s said this month they have seen a slowdown in consumer spending in recent weeks. The exception was Walmart, which reported higher sales in the third quarter and raised its profit outlook.
“We’re seeing inflation really starting to hit the wallet and consumers starting to accumulate more debt at this point,” said Guru Hariharan, founder and CEO of e-commerce management firm CommerceIQ, adding that he there is more pressure on consumers. to buy cheaper alternatives.
EVOLUTION OF DEMAND
This year’s Cyber Monday also comes amid a broader e-commerce slowdown affecting online retailers who have seen a sales boom for most of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers who feared leaving home and embraced e-commerce during the pandemic are returning to physical stores in greater numbers this year as normalcy returns.
The National Retail Federation said its recent survey showed a 3% increase in the number of Black Friday shoppers planning to visit stores. It expects 63.9 million consumers to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from 77 million last year.
Amazon has seen its retail business thrive for most of the pandemic, but much of the demand has waned as the worst of the pandemic subsided. To cope with the change, the company scaled back its warehouse expansion plans and cut costs by scrapping some of its projects. It is also following in the footsteps of other tech companies and implementing mass layoffs within its ranks. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company will continue to cut jobs until early next year.
Shopify, a company that helps businesses build e-commerce websites and also offers offline software, laid off 10% of its staff this summer.
The company said on Monday that its merchants had surpassed $5.1 billion in global sales since the start of Black Friday in New Zealand. And spending per U.S. customer was up $5 from a year ago, Shopify President Harley Finkelstein said.
Despite the bump, Finkelstein said shoppers were more intentional about their spending this year and waiting for discounts before making a purchase.
AP Business Writer Anne D’Innocenzio contributed to this report.
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