By Phil Wahba and Dhanya Skariachan
NEW YORK Dec 2 U.S. online sales are expected
to hit $2 billion on "Cyber Monday," for the first time since
the data firm comScore began tracking such information.
Monday's 20 percent increase is expected to come even after
many consumers shopped earlier because retailers began offering
online discounts on Sunday to compete with each other and online
retail giant Amazon.com Inc.
As of 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT), online sales were up 17.5
percent on "Cyber Monday," according to IBM Digital Analytics
"All of them are behind Amazon, but some are starting to
catch up," said Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough, said of
bricks-and-mortar retailer, but gave Macy's Inc and
Wal-Mart Stores Inc good grades for their e-commerce
E-commerce now accounts for roughly 10 percent of retail
spending in the United States. However, it is growing much
faster than sales at bricks-and-mortar stores as shoppers seek
low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wider selection.
Cyber Monday is the busiest day of the year for online sales.
U.S. shoppers spent almost 3 percent less overall than they
did a year earlier during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to
the National Retail Federation data. But online sales rose 17.3
percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, outpacing sales growth
at brick-and-mortar stores, data from comScore Inc
It is too soon to know which retailers are winning, but a
fuller picture will emerge on Thursday when some stores report
monthly same store sales.
On Monday, the S&P Retail Index finished the day
down 0.7 percent. Macy's Inc shares fell 1.5 percent,
while J.C. Penney Co Inc was down 1.8 percent and Target
Corp down 1.9 percent. EBay Inc was up 1.6
percent, while Gap Inc rose up 1.5 percent.
Electronics were again the top seller on Cyber Monday.
Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson said the retailer has run out
of Sony Corp PS4 and and Microsoft Corp's XBox
consoles, as had Target Corp, but both chains expected
PriceGrabber, a price comparison website, said that as of
Monday afternoon, Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet was the most
sought after item. Over the weekend, the most common searches
were for Apple Inc's iPad and iPad Mini tablets.
GROWING IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE
A big source of online shopping growth this holiday season
has come from increased use of smart phones, which enable
consumers buy online with tablets or in-stores with their
According to IBM, mobile sales accounted for 15.6 percent of
online sales as of Monday at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) compared to 13
percent on Cyber Monday in 2012.
"Consumers really seem to like the ease of shopping on the
go. They have been browsing with their smartphones and buying
with their tablet devices," said Jay Henderson, Strategy
Director for IBM.
Walmart.com's Anderson said mobile shopping accounted for 55
percent of its traffic. Blue Nile Inc Chief Executive
Harvey Kanter told Reuters that 60 percent of visits to its web
site and 25 percent of sales were made on a mobile device during
But many retailers' websites are better suited to laptops
than to phones or tablets, noted Forrester Research analyst
Sucharita Mulpuru. "There's still work to do."
United Parcel Service Inc expected to ship 32
million packages on Monday, 1 million more than last year, said
Alan Gershenhorn, the company's chief sales, marketing, and
He said a larger proportion of online shipments are
originating at retail stores rather than distribution centers,
which speeds delivery and enables retailers to use unsold
merchandise to fill e-commerce orders.
The growth of e-commerce, however, comes at a cost.
Consumers have begun to expect free shipping and more retailers
are feeling the impact on their bottom line as they try to keep
up with Amazon's Prime program, which offers free two-day
shipping for an annual fee.
Last month, Macy's said higher shipping costs was hitting
its profit margins.
While most in-store sales now occur after a consumer has
done research beforehand on a retail website, consumers are
visiting fewer retailers when they go shopping.
"Instead of going store to store, they're going online,
figuring out what they want, and where they need to go. So
that's impacting traffic," said Bill Martin, founder of
ShopperTrak, a firm that measures store traffic.
That means that retailers with user-friendly websites that
take advantage of bricks and mortar for delivery will benefit
from the e-commerce growth.
Some analysts praise Macy's, Best Buy Co Inc
Nordstrom and Gap Inc for blending their stores and
their e-commerce to keep customers.
"They have to go hand and hand now - that's just how the
shopper shops today," said Ron Friedman, retail practice leader
at the consulting firm Marcum LLP.