Cyber Monday sales hit record $12.4 billion even as savings dwindle
With Black Friday in the rearview mirror, U.S. shoppers spent $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday, a record result demonstrating the continued resilience of consumers despite dwindling pandemic-era savings and high interest rates.
Spending increased 9.6% from a year ago, making it the biggest online shopping day ever, according to Adobe, which compiles the data. Adobe had earlier adjusted upward its online spending forecast for the day based on stronger-than-expected spending on Black Friday and the popularity of buy-now-pay-later offerings that let shoppers stretch their budgets with credit.
Buy-now-pay-later usage also hit a record high on Cyber Monday, Adobe said, contributing $940 million in online spending, up 42.5% over the previous year. The firm also said consumers used such credit facilities for increasingly large purchases.
“The 2023 holiday shopping season began with a lot of uncertainty, as consumers shifted their spending to services, while dealing with rising costs across different facets of their lives,” said Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “The record online spending across Cyber Week however, shows the impact that discounts can have on consumer demand.”
Cyber Week — the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — generated $38 billion overall, up 7.8% from last year. Black Friday topped projections at $9.8 billion, up 7.5% from a year earlier. Thanksgiving spending of $5.6 billion was up 5.5%, Adobe said. So far this season, from Nov. 1 to Monday, consumers have spent $109.3 billion online, up 7.3% from 2022.
Black Friday shoppers looked for bargains after months of inflation’s steady toll. Many consumers will lean on savings, credit cards and buy-now-pay-later plans.
The five-day period brought out a record 200.4 million shoppers online and into physical stores, the National Retail Federation said Tuesday, up 1.9% from 196.7 million a year earlier. The trade group’s economist, Matthew Shay, was upbeat about the results, saying: “Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout.”
But Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending across all types of payments including cash and credit cards, said that overall sales on Black Friday rose 2.5% from a year earlier compared with the 10.9% year-over-year increase recorded during the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend. During this year’s holiday weekend, sales at physical stores rose 1.1%, while online sales were up 8.5%.
The slow start to the holiday season caused TD Cowen to lower its holiday forecast, telling investors in a note Friday that consumers are expected to spend 2% to 3% more this holiday season rather than the previously forecast 4% to 5% increase.
Top sellers included Hot Wheels, the Xbox Series X gaming console, televisions and small kitchen appliances, according to Adobe, which tracks 1 trillion visits to retail websites and monitors sales of more than 100 million products.
Big sale days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been gradually losing their cachet as shoppers spread their spending over longer periods. Still, with inflation-stung consumers watching their budgets, retailers increasingly count on these events to see what products shoppers are clicking on — then targeting them with bigger discounts as the clock counts down to Christmas.