ComScore is out with data trumpeting the single biggest day in US e-commerce history. This year, according to the measurement firm, Cyber Monday sales were just over $2 billion — a new single day record.
There are conflicting numbers from various sources about whether there was positive or negative growth this year for the big holiday weekend. Assuming that comScore’s figures are accurate, boosted by a big Cyber Monday, online sales certainly were impressive this year. For the Thanksgiving through Monday period comScore estimates that e-commerce revenues came in just under $6.6 billion overall.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) earlier estimated that the full weekend would likely see about $51 billion in US consumer retail spending. While this was intended to be an overall estimate it’s not clear whether it extended to or included Monday.
For the November – December period the NRF projects roughly $617 in total retail spending. It cites a Shop.org e-commerce projection of roughly $105 billion for e-commerce for the season. It’s not entirely clear if the $617 million is all inclusive. If so then, using these numbers, e-commerce would come in at around 17% of total holiday sales.
That would be a big deal and a new high water mark. Yet comScore’s data suggest that November – December e-commerce sales this year will land between $50 and $53 billion, roughly half the Shop.org number. In such a case e-commerce would represent around 8% of holiday sales. That is much more likely than Shop.org’s larger figure.
Based on preliminary numbers I had crudely estimated that in-store sales were about 20X e-commerce. That didn’t include the big Cyber Monday, whose revenues close the online – offline gap somewhat (although the numbers from NRF are not entirely clear). But overall we’re still looking at a full-year 2014 in which e-commerce lands right around 7% of total US retail.
As I said in my earlier LSA post, most of the e-commerce volume is very likely coming through online and mobile properties associated with familiar, traditional retail brands such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Kohls, Macy’s and others. Certainly Amazon and eBay are big drivers of online sales but it’s brick and mortar retailers who were/are the primary beneficiaries of this year’s online sales boom.
Comscore and others are eager to draw a bright line between online and offline but in the reality of consumer behavior that line isn’t quite as clean or clear as the press releases suggest.