Cyber Monday shopping dynamics: Mobile, social, multichannel change game

Cyber Monday has arrived and mobile, social and promotions have made it extremely difficult to call any winners and losers.

Handicapping how retailers will do on Cyber Monday is increasingly difficult as more multichannel strategies are deployed, Amazon loses a pricing edge, mobile matters and social plays a role.

Here's the deal: Cyber Friday sales were moved up to Thanksgiving. Black Friday deals could be had online before you finished your turkey. And now there's even a term Cyber Saturday for people who browsed Friday and actually bought a day later. It's unclear whether Cyber Monday will actually exist. The general theory behind Cyber Monday revolved around work PC resources. You have a computer in your pocket to shop now.

While there will be clear winners and losers---a Black Friday outage stung Best Buy---the dynamics are shifting to the point where Amazon's disappointing fourth quarter outlook starts to make sense. Brick and mortar commerce doesn't compete with digital. Both sides have merged.

salesforce black friday

Consider the moving parts:

  • The National Retail Federation is predicting that 126.9 million shoppers will hit sites on Cyber Monday, down from 131.6 million in 2013.
  • 19.3 percent of those surveyed by the NRF will use their mobile devices to shop and 84.5 percent will use their home computers.
  • Salesforce tracked 606,325 social media conversations and found Cyber Monday is the most discussed topic, but Black Friday resulted in a Saturday hangover.
  • Chatter about retailers has been shifting with Amazon and Wal-Mart dominating, said Salesforce. Kohl's on Friday led the social charge, but it remains to be seen whether that chatter turned into real sales.
  • Apple has surfaced as a leading social conversation surrounding retail with 10,000 posts on Saturday. Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Android and Amazon were the most talked about brands, according to Salesforce data.
  • The NRF said that 55.1 percent of shoppers were online or in stores on Black Friday, down from 58.7 percent last year.
  • IBM found that traffic from mobile devices outpaced PCs on Thanksgiving day. According to IBM, 52.1 percent of online traffic was from a mobile device. Black Friday mobile sales were 27.9 percent of total online sales.
  • Tablets drove 16 percent of online sales compared to 11.8 percent for smartphones. Tablet users spent $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, said IBM.
  • iOS traffic was 34.2 percent of total online traffic, more than double Android, said IBM.
  • Department stores saw Black Friday online sales grow 22.9 percent from 2013.

The only real takeaway from those data points is that the retailing landscape is shifting dramatically. It's all commerce and consumers are playing a promotional game. Bottom line: Cyber Monday may not be worth the hubbub given deals were landing before your Thanksgiving dinner was served.