The 2011 online holiday shopping season had a strong start, with record Cyber Monday sales of $1.251 billion and a significant jump over last year. Depending on whose numbers you believe, this year’s Cyber Monday sales numbers were anywhere from 15% to 33% higher than in 2010. Department stores and home goods retailers saw the highest sales volumes; department stores had a 60% increase over last year, while home goods retailers saw a 68% increase.
Additionally, the average order rose 2.6 percent over last year to $193.24. A record number of purchases were made on mobile devices, with nearly three times as many online shoppers purchasing via smartphone — 6.6% of shoppers used a mobile device compared to just 2.3% in 2010. Reports also showed that 7.37% of sales were made on mobile devices as compared to 2.25% in 2010.
Now a couple weeks into the holiday shopping season, the higher sales numbers continue and point to a much healthier season this year than in recent years. With the recession seemingly over, consumers are in more of a spending mood. In fact, one study says that holiday shoppers will spend a little extra this year on gifts for themselves – 36% of consumers compared to 29% last year, and they’ll spend 16% more on items for themselves.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, and consumers’ comfort with shopping from their home PCs, it seems clear that online and mobile sales will continue to capture a greater proportion of overall retail sales. And while free shipping promotions and other special offers will certainly have an impact on where people buy, e-retail sites designed with ease of use and a streamlined search and navigation experience should also fare well as consumers open their wallets.