It was a record setting year for Cyber Monday, the day holiday shoppers take to the inter-webs en masse to find post-Black Friday deals.

According to IBM’s fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark, sales on Cyber Monday were up 33% from last year. ComScore cites sales of $1.25 billion on Monday, just the second time in history that online sales have topped $1 billion in one day.

The chart below shows that Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday for online sales – sales on Monday were up 29.3% over Friday.

Trend: Mobile

IBM’s numbers show that on Cyber Monday, 10.8% of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from just 3.9% the previous year.

But according to Channel Advisor, mobile traffic was actually higher on Black Friday, pointing to a consumer tendency to compare prices using their mobile devices while shopping in-store.

The National Retail Federation conducted a pre-Cyber Monday study showing that more than half of surveyed online retailers have heavily invested in mobile-optimized websites and 19.6% have invested in tablet applications.

As far as sales, mobile users made up 6.6% of all buying, up from just 2.3% last year.

IBM reveals the mobile device breakdown for Cyber Monday online traffic – and iOS devices were at the top.

  • 4.1% from iPhone
  • 3.3% from iPad
  • 3.2% from Android devices
Overall iPad shoppers tend to spend more money than other device users – and this trend showed up again Cyber Monday. iPad conversion rates held at 5.2%, versus 4.6% for all other devices.

Trend: Social

The National Retail Federation’s study shows that 29.2% of consumers will check out a company’s Facebook page for more information on holiday sales, while 65.1% will read consumer reviews on the company’s website.

The chart below (credit: Tech Crunch) shows the correlation between growth of social media and Cyber Monday’s ability to drive sales. As more and more users join Facebook, the power behind Cyber Monday grows. Based on the widespread sharing of deals on social networks, this correlation is anything but a coincidence.

According to IBM’s study, shoppers referred from social networks generated .56% of all online sales on Cyber Monday, with Facebook accounting for 86% of all social media traffic. General discussion of Cyber Monday on social media sites increased in volume by 115% compared to last year.

The NRF study also shows that 72.5% of retailers who regularly use social media platforms invested in their Facebook marketing efforts prior to Cyber Monday.

The concept of sharing deals via social networks is fairly new, but it is a powerful concept because it encourages users to share deals on the sites where they spend most of their time online: Facebook and Twitter.

Trend: Email

AdAge’s “Why Cyber Monday is the Spammiest Day of the Year,” cites numbers from Responsys predicting that this Cyber Monday would see the largest volume of marketing email ever.

Responsys also found that more than 80% of major retailers sent at least one promotional email on cyber weekend, up 69% from last year.

Trend: Search

According to eBay, search engines showed a strong performance with 38.6% of online sales coming from search.

Trend: Free Shipping

According to the National Retail Foundation’s study, 92.5% of retailers say they plan on offering free shipping at some point during the holiday season.

Trend: Cyber Monday, Cyber Five, Cyber Week

One day is no longer enough to pack in the cyber savings. Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday have come to be known as the “Cyber Five” – and eBay studies show that the Saturday and Sunday after Black Friday were very strong in terms of online sales.

But maybe five days isn’t enough, either. Retail giants Wal-Mart and Amazon are both offering week-long cyber savings to maximize early holiday sales.

The Consumer Perspective

Shop.org’s eHoliday survey reveals that the average shopper plans to do about 36% of their holiday shopping online this year, a steady increase from last year’s 32.7%.

According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers are heading online for a number of reasons:

  • 43.2% for 24 hour convenience
  • 37.2% to avoid crowds in stores
  • 29.6% for the ease of comparing prices

Key Takeaways

Given the stats and trends, there are several ways to maximize online sales this holiday season:

  • Optimize website for online shopping
  • Have a mobile-optimized site and/or mobile application
  • Invest in paid search and SEO
  • Encourage P2P deal sharing on social sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Begin marketing pushes early and keep them going even when Cyber Monday has passed
  • Plan free shipping promotions