Online spending rose 16.5% this holiday season, reaching $126 billion, and more people shopped on mobile devices as m-commerce expands.
Overall sales for the 2018 holiday shopping season increased more than 5% to over $850 billion in the U.S., a six-year high, according to a report from Mastercard. The retail industry’s strongest showing was in ecommerce, where double-digit growth exceeded expectations. Consumers spent a record $126 billion online, and according to Adobe Analytics, more of them used their smartphones to place orders. Amazon and other ecommerce sites contributed to the spike with early discounts.
Adobe collected and measured 80% of all transactions from the top 100 web retailers in the U.S. The top-ranked online retailers, in addition to Amazon, included eBay, Apple, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy, Qurate Retail Group (owner of QVC, HSN and zulily), Macy’s, Costco and Wayfair. Amazon clearly dominates, with more than 49% of all online sales going to the Seattle-based giant, according to data from eMarketer published in July 2018.
Mobile commerce, also known as m-commerce, continues to grow. In the pre-holiday period of November and December, just over half – 51% – of traffic to ecommerce sites came from mobile platforms. Nearly a third of all online spending took place on smartphones. Analysts say mobile commerce transactions will overtake ecommerce transactions globally this year, with Chinese smartphone users leading the pack.
Online shopping in the U.S. peaked on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, reaching a record $7.9 billion in online spending. This marks the biggest online shopping day ever in the U.S. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, came in second with $6.2 billion. Online shoppers spent $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving Day.
While online sales peaked on Cyber Monday, November 26, this is no longer a one-day event. In 2018 consumers spent an average of 40% more per day during the three weeks following Cyber Monday than in the first three weeks of the holiday season. Sales continued to grow until Dec. 17, Reuters reports. Toys, consumer electronics and video games were among the most popular items.
While online sales data suggest confidence is high among American consumers, the country’s department stores continue to grapple with the new retail industry landscape.