Analyzing Sales Figures from Cyber Monday 2009

Josh GordonOne of the most important aspects of business is the proper management of expectations. The media, at times, fails to manage expectations very well (though in defense of the media, moderate expectations do not sell). As a result, predictions about the impact of and total sales figures from Cyber Monday in 2009 were out in full force early in the season. New York Post reporter James Covert (what a cool name for a reporter) published a comScore projection that put sales for Cyber Monday at a record level, topping $900 million with a healthy six percent boost over the previous year's record. The aggressive projection flew in the face of cynics and critics who went on the record with their skepticism given the current difficulty of the economy and the general consumer's less than rosy perspective on spending.

So, with the expectations set sky high, comScore released the final sales figures from 2009’s version of Cyber Monday. While the final figures fell short of the lofty six percent projection, the good news is that the numbers were not that far off. Cyber Monday netted $887M, a five percent increase over 2008. Does that mean the economy and the consumer’s perception of spending this holiday season is reflected in the final numbers? Only in part.

In preparation for what the entire retail industry expected to be a tough selling season, a good deal was very easy to find on the first day back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday break. While average spending per consumer was down by more than a dollar, the average order size was still above $100, at $102.19 to be exact.

The number of shoppers booting up to shop increased by six percent to a total of 8.7M. As a result, the online retail industry also has solid growth upon which to build. Since more consumers turned to the convenience and deals online this Cyber Monday, 2010’s forecast is improved.

Interestingly, more than half America’s work computers were occupied with shopping on Cyber Monday – up nearly two and a half percent from last year. The biggest drop in spending came from international computers, with a reduction in orders at 1.3 percent.

While the rosiest of projections was not what ultimately played out on Cyber Monday in 2009, key indicators like the drop off in purchases from international computers and the nearly flat average order size create optimism about the remainder of the holiday season and 2010. The sound you hear is the collective sigh of relief from online retailers.

The lesson is that Cyber Monday was positive for retailers and for solution providers. The confidence from strong consumer buying numbers helps drive business-to-business buying confidence, too.

The next set of numbers I would like to analyze? The loss of production during Cyber Monday compared with the loss of production during the first day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament each March!

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  2. […] day of the year was “Cyber Monday,” which saw $1 billion in sales, a 16 percent jump over last year. Interestingly, Coremetrics reports that 4 percent of purchases made on Cyber Monday came from […]

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